In the dying days of British Hong Kong, Sara Sexton, upon breaking up with a Greek lover, visits her old friend Martin Blake, a high-profile, high-dollar interior designer. She finds him greatly changed since their playground days in Australia. His razor-edge wit is all but gone, and has been largely replaced by a fondness for designer shoes, cars and exotic house servants. Even though she can barely recognize him, she feels that the secret they shared in the past – the secret that led to Sara’s breakup – is still enough to bind the two together. Friendships, especially friendships as deep-running as theirs, are worth fighting for. Or are they?

This suspenseful story, set in Hong Kong and Sydney, Australia, shows the effects of a lifetime friendship going toxic as modern life pulls the once quasi-siblings in opposite directions. As Sara embarks on a simpler life, Martin becomes increasingly complex and erratic. Eventually Sara is forced to a terrible choice in the name of self-preservation, and choices can have terrible consequences.

In its witty dissection of middle-class ideals and aspirations, Greg Johnston’s CONSUMPTION is a heart-rending, provoking novel about the nature of long-term friendships. With beautiful prose, arresting characters, and intriguing setting, Johnston evokes the city of Hong Kong before, during, and after the hand-over and immerses the reader in a world that is as beautiful as it is painful.