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All Who Live On Islands

4.77  ·  Rating details ·  97 ratings  ·  16 reviews
All Who Live on Islands introduces a bold new voice in New Zealand literature. In these intimate and entertaining essays, Rose Lu takes us through personal history – a shopping trip with her Shanghai-born grandparents, her career in the Wellington tech industry, an epic hike through the Himalayas – to explore friendship, the weight of stories told and not told about ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published November 2019 by Victoria University Press
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Francis Cooke
Dec 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
an incredible book. the compassion and enthusiasm with which rose details the subjects of each of the essays in this collection - from food preparation to her yoga teacher to her reading of other new zealand chinese authors to her remarkable, affectionate but clear-eyed, portrayal of her exes - is amazing, as is the interweaving of languages throughout the text to give full voice to the different people within it. through all the pieces in the book, one of the most important things that rose ...more
Nov 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Look, Rose is a friend, and it's hard to shake this bias - and if I didn't like the book, would I even leave a rating here? - but I just devoured the entire book while flying back to Melbourne this evening. Rose writes so deftly - clear, thoughtful, honest, and with heart the entire way through - and so it was hard to _stop_ reading it. Perhaps the one advantage of having a longer-than-sensible flight path home meant that I had just the right amount of time with no distractions so I didn't ...more
Carolyn DeCarlo
Jan 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Rose Lu's essays are full of life, incredibly crafted, and impossible to put down. While a large portion of the personal essays she's included in this collection centre around family, nationality, and identity, whatever the topic (i.e. female friendship, the people Rose has had sex with, etc.) she approaches it authentically and without fear, giving each piece exactly what it needs. For this reason, every essay in this collection is a banger. Just when I started to wonder if she might be a ...more
Jan 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I loved this. This was a read-in-one-sitting book. I learnt a lot and also saw myself in it - not many books can do that to a person.
Feb 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Exceptional insight into life as a "1.5 generation" immigrant in New Zealand. Written with warmth and a sharp, nuanced view of racism. I can't wait to read more of Lu's work in the future.
Jan 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is great and way more relevant to today's audience than most teen coming of age books, it would be a great book for studying in high school too.
Nov 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Excellent read and ranges extremely broadly. Could be just as easily read by a high school English class looking for a coming of age story as an adult looking for better insights into New Zealand.
Feb 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Incredible and cathartic, reading this book was like coming home - so many words resonated on a personal level. I found myself caught between that tension that all great books create; of wanting to inhale the book and at the same time wanting to pace myself so I could read it for longer. I honestly didn't want it to end. So very grateful for this book, its existence makes the world a better place.
Feb 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I devoured this collection of personal essays. Such a fantastic addition to Aotearoa literature and a good insight into what it may be like to be a 1.5 generation Kiwi of Chinese descent! May be like because as Rose Lu points out it is not a universal experience but all dependent on your family, where you end up living, and so on and so on. The last essay about Lu's brother Matthew is especially moving. More please Ms Lu!!
Elizabeth Kim
Dec 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is an honest account of Rose's life from her intersectional perspective. It places Asian women into literary discourse in a way that made me, as an asian woman feel visible and heard.

It is an exploration of sexuality, cultural identity, adulthood, and life. It is an important book in my life, and whilst Rose's life was drastically different from mine in many elements, it resonated with me in so many ways as a Korean-New-Zealander.

He tino pai tō mahi e hoa.
Bonnie Shum
Jan 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Loved everything about this book.
Feb 06, 2020 added it
Such a good read - so many super relatable parts for me (living in Aotearoa, being a teenage girl, queer shit) and so many beautifully enlightening parts about Rose's unique experience as an immigrant, as a Chinese person living in rural NZ, as a kiwi trying to navigate the widening cultural divide between her and her family. Really beautifully written and engaging - thoroughly recommend everyone give it a read!
Amanda Miles
Jan 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Not my usual choice of book, given to me as a gift. Really enjoyed it
Nov 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I read so much of me in this book and I’m really glad Rose Lu wrote it. It is extraordinary and captivating.
Jan 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
One of those beautifully written books that not only transports you completely into the author’s world but challenges you to think about life differently. An absolute must read.
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