Winner of the Chiu Ko Fiction Prize
Chang Ching-Hung’s City of Motels is a ballsy anti-Bildungsroman. The protagonist, Wu Chi-Lun, has a bad case of angst. He quits school and starts working in a motel. There he meets the more unsavoury side of the city. But somehow he dreams one day of buying his own and turning it into a school of conversation, a kind of contemporary salon.
City of Motels is a dissection of the darker side of the city of Taichung seen through the eyes of a seventeen-year-old. Chang Ching-Hung’s novel is both straight-to-the-point and unruly. Its subject matter, the urban experience, is plain. This is a book of youthful rebelliousness, a cry against the routinisation and institutionalisation of crime and porn, a defiant posture that reminds us that the world was not always thus.