Dear Franklin

Dear Franklin


Publisher: Éditions Xavier Barral

“When we die,
we turn into stories;
and every time someone tells one of those stories
it’s like we’re still here for them.
We’re all stories in the end.”
― from the introduction to “Dear Franklin”

By chance, Hong Kong-based artist, poet and historian Kurt Tong came into possession of a trunk filled with documents, letters, postcards, photographs and notes belonging to a stranger, a man called Franklin Lung. Intrigued by the life into which he had glimpsed, Tong began to research and piece together the story of Franklin Lung over several months.

In “Dear Franklin,” Tong takes the reader into this life. Through fragments and photographs and, crucially, letters, Lung’s story as a man who began life in a modest family and came to settle in Shanghai. As the book continues and the years change from the early 1910s to the 1950s, Tong weaves historical narratives—about China, about the world, about the rise of fascism, about the China diaspora—into Lung’s personal story. Over time, the photographs and notes and letters reveal not only a love story but the unfolding of China’s political and social history of the early 20th century.


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Book Size
235 × 170 mm
352 pages
Publication Year
English, French

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