Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Train to Lo Wu” as Want to Read:
The Train to Lo Wu
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Train to Lo Wu

3.42 of 5 stars 3.42  ·  rating details  ·  89 ratings  ·  15 reviews
The characters in Jess Row’s remarkable fiction inhabit “a city that can be like a mirage, hovering above the ground: skyscrapers built on mountainsides, islands swallowed in fog for days.” This is Hong Kong, where a Chinese girl and her American teacher explore the “blindness” of bats in an effort to locate the ghost of her suicidal mother; an American graduate student pr ...more
Paperback, 208 pages
Published January 31st 2006 by Dial Press Trade Paperback (first published 2005)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Train to Lo Wu, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Train to Lo Wu

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 221)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
John Luiz
I almost gave up on this collection after reading the first two stories. I knew from the dust jacket that all the stories were set in Hong Kong, and two of the central characters in those stories - a 16-year-old girl and an 80-year-old masseuse -- have limited English skills, so their dialogue with the Americans they encounter is written in broken English. Those stories are both very powerful, but I wasn't sure if I could stand 200 pages of what, even in the hands of a writer as skillful as Row ...more
Cynthia Haggard
Personally, I’m not a great fan of short stories. Perhaps it’s because I like big-picture things. But Jess Row’s short story collection THE TRAIN TO LO WU is a brilliant multi-faceted exploration of the multiple ways in which people can misunderstand one another. Especially in a place like Hong Kong, with its modern high-rises, churning capitalism and sea mists.

We learn about a Chinese girl who goes around blind-folded to experience the echo-location of bats, about a wife who drives her husband
The Train to Lo Wu is a collection of short stories written by Jess Row, who spent the two years immediately following the return of Hong Kong to Chinese rule (1997-99) teaching English at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. The train to Lo Wu, incidentally, heads out of Hong Kong, towards its northern border with Shenzhen. This is the feeling I get from Row's stories. The seven here are intense psychological sketches, with Hong Kong as a backdrop for his mostly non-local protagonists. There's ...more
Lifetimes of sadness and fleeting moments of happiness, joy. That's the feeling created by the stories of these characters. Cultural gaps that can't quite be crossed with the city of Hong Kong looming always as a character in the background. The stories are filled with those subtle turns of phrase that convey so well the loneliness, the need, the regrets, the almost of touching another, of trying to understand. I just love sentences like "I'm probably the only comparative philosophy professor wh ...more
Dec 29, 2014 Vicki added it
Short stories about Americans living in Hong Kong.
This is the second time I've read this collection. I like the American-in-Hong Kong perspective. I think "foreigner abroad" is hard to pull off in fiction, and Row just runs with it. The first story, "The Secrets of Bats" is one of my favorite short stories, ever. There's an ethereal quality to it that is representative of the feeling of living in a foreign country and not understanding everything around you.
I'd previously read the first story in this collection for a class and adored it, so went back to read the rest. The collection did not disappoint. Each of the stories felt very complete and gave a different perspective on Hong Kong as if the city too was a character that the narrator had a relationship with: how the city brought peace or turmoil, if it was a refuge or prison, what it made them realize.
I especially liked "The Secret of Bats" and "Heaven Lake," both of which I'd read before. "For You" was quite moving. All of the stories were fascinating, maybe a little more troubled relationships with incomprehensible women than I enjoy (the title story particularly) but his writing is really good. Jess Row is a Buddhist teacher as well as writer. I'm watching for more from him.
Danee .
when have you, taken the train to lo wu? ooh, ooh a sentence, a haiku.

anyone else find it annoying that there's a picture of shenzhen on the cover of a book of stories about hong kong?

aside from these ramblings, an interesting collection about the stresses of modernity in the east.
As usual with the short stories some are better than others. But in general they were a little boring, and the Hong Kong setting a little weak (sometimes they talked more about China or United States).
Fascinating portrayal of Hong Kong from different ethnic and generational perspectives. Never felt exoticized though everyone did feel like an expat, an outsider -- even the Chinese chraracters themselves.
My review is here.
Aug 21, 2007 Anna rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: All my AmeriCorps Folks.
Shelves: fiction
Short Stories. About Americans in other countries. But not in an indulgent way.
A very good collection of short stories with a Hong Kong theme
I had a lot of fun promoting this book. . .
Justine Avery
Justine Avery marked it as to-read
Nov 14, 2015
Cassie marked it as to-read
Nov 01, 2015
Mark Reed
Mark Reed marked it as to-read
Oct 17, 2015
Cetro Rostov
Cetro Rostov marked it as to-read
Sep 25, 2015
Andrew Campbell
Andrew Campbell marked it as to-read
Sep 09, 2015
Zining Mok
Zining Mok marked it as to-read
Jul 31, 2015
Michelle Cristiani
Michelle Cristiani marked it as to-read
Jul 20, 2015
Amanda marked it as to-read
Jul 11, 2015
Steve marked it as to-read
Jun 23, 2015
Goke Akinniranye
Goke Akinniranye marked it as to-read
Jun 19, 2015
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • A Night at the Movies, Or, You Must Remember This: Fictions
  • Forty Stories
  • Tabloid Dreams: Stories
  • Heavy Water and Other Stories
  • The Withdrawal Method
  • A Better Angel
  • Back in the World
  • The Ghost Stories of Muriel Spark
  • Gryphon: New and Selected Stories
  • How it Ended
  • The New Yorker Stories
  • Soulstorm
  • Saint Jack
  • Everything Here Is the Best Thing Ever: Stories
  • Flying Leap
  • An Empty Room
  • Samuel Beckett
  • Criers & Kibitzers, Kibitzers & Criers
Jess Row is an American short story writer and novelist. He attended Yale University and later taught English in Hong Kong for two years before completing his M.F.A. at the University of Michigan in 2001.
More about Jess Row...

Share This Book