The four novellas and two short stories in this collection of Eileen Chang's work illustrate Hong Kong in the middle of the 20th century. The translator makes a point in the introduction that while many other authors were banned in mainland China for portraying strong political opinions, Chang avoids the opinions and the banning. What Chang's sampling of work in this collection lacks in outright political tone is made up by the twisted and complicated relationships between characters. At times they are drawn out over years, divorces, and war, while others are momentary like between passengers on the subway. At first I was confused by the unfamiliar social constructs and conventions between the characters, but the quality of writing (and since I don't read the original language of these stories, the translation) made the confusion of a different set of cultural norms only a minor distraction. One story is translated by Chang herself, so the reader gets an academic understanding of the translation process of these works as well.