Book Highlight: The Walled City by Ryan Graudin

Empathy, Identity, Recommendations

We’ve been touching on the meaning of Diversity, Identity and Empathy within the library lessons this half term and will be expanding on these points as the term continues. With those ideas in mind I wanted to highlight a book I’ve just received information about.

Received from Publisher

About the story:

There are three rules in the Walled City: Run fast. Trust no one. Always carry your knife. Right now, my life depends completely on the first. Run, run, run.
Disguised as a boy, Jin Ling searches for her missing sister, Mei Yee, who was sold into the brothels of the Walled City. She relies on her speed and cunning but how long will her luck hold? When a mysterious boy, Dai, requests her help with a dangerous mission Jin Ling’s inclined to say no – this is a world where no one can be trusted – but the mission offers her a vital chance to see inside the brothel where her sister may be being held. Jin Ling and Dai join forces, but will either of them survive the mission? Is Mei Yee still alive? And how will any of them ever escape the stifling city walls?

Ryan Graudin is a debut author – and her star is definitely on the rise. THE WALLED CITY is a dark, intense and atmospheric adventure, set in a fictional lawless place based on the authors’ experience of Kowloon, and exploring notions of safety, protection, family, love and honour against a backdrop of grit, and despair, violence and tension. A book to transport you entirely to another world and leave you blinking when you emerge.

A US based author – Ryan lives in Charleston, South Carolina but travels extensively.
Ryan says of her inspiration for the story:
My inspiration for writing THE WALLED CITY was threefold. The first two experiences that drove me toward writing this novel were overseas trips I took in my early twenties. The summer of my sophomore year of college I spent six weeks living with a family in the slums of Phnom Penh, Cambodia in order to understand third world poverty—an experience that has stayed with me, as well as heavily inspired Jin Ling’s part of the story.
During my junior year of college I visited my future sister-in-law in El Alto, Bolivia. She worked at the Casa de Esperanza, a center in the city’s red light district that was established to provide the sex workers with child care, health education and alternative work options. Getting to know the women there shattered a lot of my stereotypes, and planted the seeds for Mei Yee’s story.
The third (and possibly biggest) inspiration was meeting a woman named Jackie Pullinger, who worked in the Kowloon Walled City for many years. As I listened to her talking about this place—six and a half, lawless, sunless acres—I knew I had to learn more about it. My research about this neighborhood, as well as my experiences in Cambodia and Bolivia, all started to braid together into a story I couldn’t put down.

AVAILABLE TO PURCHASE 6TH NOVEMBER 2014 
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