Book Review: Meet Me In Venice By Suzanne Ma

Suzanne Ma is an award-winning journalist whose work has appeared in numerous publications including The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg Businessweek, the Associated Press, The Huffington Post, and Salon, among others. In Meet Me In Venice Suzanne Ma investigates why so many people emigrate out of China and the important role those emigrants play around the world.

Suzanne Ma has spent years in Europe and China investigating emigrants to get to the heart of why  emigrants are willing to suffer hardship, suspicion, manual labour and separation from their loved ones in order to live abroad. As China continues to expand economically and become ever more powerful and influential, the time is perfect for this investigative memoir.

This is not the type of read that I personally read often. I write highly imaginative fantasy and feature articles on entertainment and spirituality, so a memoir regarding Chinese emigrants is quite far from my typical reading matter. I will however say that there are many aspects of Suzanne Ma’s work that are quite inspirational. It’s clear Suzanne Ma is a truly accomplished writer of investigative and technical articles. She is a true master of the English language, that much is very apparent. And not only is the writing top notch, the level of research that must have gone into this book is quite staggering. The attention to detail is truly admirable.

If I have a gripe about Meet Me In Venice it has to be that the book did little to invite me into its tale. While all the details were intriguing and enlightening and Suzanne Ma’s knowledge of her subject is unquestionable, there’s very little effort on the author’s part to invite the reader in. The people in the book are introduced more as factual evidence than as living, breathing human beings. The purpose of the book is to reveal the underpinning reasons why people emigrate from China. And on a factual level the book succeeds. But it doesn’t make the reader feel the desire to emigrate, it doesn’t put the reader in the shoes of its subjects. There’s little emotional connection between reader and writer.

Meet Me In Venice ends up being a wonderfully precise and well researched piece of journalism, but one that is ultimately standoffish and uninviting.

Overall: 3.5 out of 5.