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Shanghai Baby Hardcover – 24 Sep 2001


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 263 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (24 Sep 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743421566
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743421560
  • Product Dimensions: 22.1 x 14.9 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 544,390 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

"The Times (London) A steamy Chinese novel in the Western style about life in contemporary China, condemned for exposing subjects that are completely taboo in modern Chinese literature.

Book Description

A story of love and betrayal - banned in China.... --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
My name is Nikki but my friends all call me Coco after Coco Chanel, a French lady who lived to be almost ninety. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 1 Aug 2001
Format: Paperback
A marketing sucess; but a failure as far as any other quality standard could judge. Cliched; trite; and probably banned because it was so bad. It's a shame that this kind of stuff gets so much publicity - more on the looks of the writer and the fact that it deals with Western man and Chinese woman having an affair than anything else. I got so bored i left this on the train - and i've never done that before.
There are much better books than this set in China - Please Don't Call me Human, or the Drink and Dream Teahouse (interestingly by a young English man) are much better in every respect.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 15 Dec 2001
Format: Paperback
Wei Hui (pronounced Way-Way) is the daughter of an army officer and spent three years of her childhood living in an army-occupied temple from which monks had been expelled during the chaos of the Cultural Revolution. She studied literature at the prestigious Fudan University in Shanghai, China.
Wei is now dubbed 'decadent, debauched and a slave of foreign culture.' Chinese authorities banned this novel, "Shanghai Baby," in April 2000 for its sensual nature and irreverent style. Forty thousand copies of "Shanghai Baby" were publicly burned in the government's attempts to ban this young author's rise to fame. This novel is the semi-autobiographical story of Coco, a café waitress, who is full of enthusiasm and impatience for life. She meets a young man, Tian Tian, for whom she feels tenderness and love, but he is reclusive, impotent and an increasing user of drugs. Despite parental objections, Coco moves in with him, leaves her job and throws herself into writing.
Shortly afterwards she meets Mark, a married Westerner. The two are uncontrollable attracted and begin a highly charged, physical affair. Torn between her two lovers, and tormented by her deceit, her unfinished novel, and the conflicting feelings involved in both love and betrayal, Coco begins to find out who she really is.
This novel also focuses on China's present day social and sexual revolution. New voices are emerging that challenge China's current cultural generation gaps, those that divide young adults born in the 1970s and the older generation, a gap that has never been, as wide, as today. This is a beautifully written novel, by a young author from the forbidden culture.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 22 Aug 2001
Format: Paperback
I thought I had missed something! This book left me with no real feelings about the characters. I felt void of sympathy (or anything else)for Coco. I thought the story was disjointed in places, predictable in others. Not as enjoyable as I hoped it would be.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Arynth VINE VOICE on 27 Sep 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The plot could well be based on Wei Hui's own personal experiences, but to be honest the plot, right from the outset seems really strained. Frustrated female writer, supported by useless yet loving boyfriend eventually ruins own life for a while before heading out into the deep unknown.
I bought this book mostly out of interest in China. I wanted to see what was so controversial that the book would be banned. I wanted to read a portrait of modern Shanghai before I visited the city myself. I wanted to read an interesting book on contemporary Chinese life in a modern Chinese city. I didn't really get any of that.
I could see why the book was controversial. In many places it is simply pornographic. And this pornography is not well written. It seems to suggest that every bourgeoise Shanghainese woman is a slut and most of the bourgeois Shanghainese men are layabouts with nothing better to do than spend their money on pot. Wei Hui spends so much time talking about Coco-Channel that anything interesting about Shanghai is left behind.
Does this book deal with some interesting issues? Yep. It grapples with a woman dealing with an impotent yet loving boyfriend, drug-use, affairs aplenty and relationships. But as I said before, it reads like Airport trash.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 24 July 2001
Format: Paperback
Well I think I'm qualified to say it is a bad book, even worse because of the translation, it is that bad probably it will become a cult. Especially when you know every street, every place mentioned in that book, every cliched urban cool in that city. If you take the book itself as a portrait of a surperficial 'shanghai lady', well, nothing comes closer.
The quotes before every chapter are random collection of trendy reading and listening of the in-crowd in the city. From Unbearable lightness of being to Henry Miller and to... Tori Amos...
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By A Customer on 24 Dec 2001
Format: Paperback
The educational part : it was interesting to see how the Chinese youth have adapted to western ideals and ways of life.
The rest: seemed like an extended version of a short romance/tragedy story. The author could have condensed the book into a couple of pages and published it in a magazine. There were parts missing which made the book appear 'unfinished'.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By "cburtle" on 23 Jun 2002
Format: Paperback
semi-autobiographical, "SHANGHAI BABY" tells the poignant tale of Coco a struggling writer whose discoveries of life, love, infidelity and personal development are all set in the bustling city of Shanghai.
Leading a trendy, upbeat lifestyle in unusual places among equally unusual friends, Coco spends her time flitting between her tormented, impotent lover and a German businessman who rocks her world. Finding time in between to pen her novel; she is a dedicated writer seeking the ultimate goal-recognition of her work.
WEI HUI achieves cult-status in China with this, her first novel which caused a public outrage on its publication.
It is a descriptive account of present day China, challenging traditions and taking us on a journey almost like a travellers' guide of Shanghai.
Captivating her audience with a fresh shockable style, WEI HUI succeeds in producing a book which is both tragic and touching and well worth reading.
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