The story of a young Singaporean-Chinese girl, Sarah, and her family, who migrate to Australia. During the Festival of the Hungry Ghosts Sarah meets the ghost of Pei, a Chinese girl who was not much older than Sarah when she died. As the story unfolds, it becomes apparent that the girls share a common ancestry. Initially reluctant, Sarah helps Pei to discover the truth about events surrounding her death and the lover she believed had betrayed her. Set in contemporary Singapore and Australia, and nineteenth-century China and Australia.
Hungry Ghosts is a sprawling tale touching on issues of Chinese immigration to Australia from the 1800s to the present, and the manner and extent to which Chinese cultural identity has been maintained in expatriate Chinese communities. It also looks at the different ways in which the different generations of Sarah s family adapt to life in their new country.