More than anything else, For Today I Am a Boy is a good book. Its spare prose says much with few words, a job not easy to do well and harder to do well without sounding like an imitation of Ernest Hemingway. In Kim Fu's capable hands, the language evokes instead the determination of native Cantonese speakers using English, the minimalism of a good one-liner, and the habit of years of words not said. The style matches the story. It's a tale of the children of immigrants, strangers in a strange land that is also their own. Immigration is perhaps the closest suitable metaphor for transsexual experience, and the novel's protagonist is a transsexual woman who has no idea transition is possible and no language to describe her life. But this book's cardinal virtue is that neither the immigrant nor the transsexual...

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