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The Eye of Jade Hardcover – 6 Apr 2007

3.6 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; First Edition edition (6 April 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330447726
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330447720
  • Product Dimensions: 13.8 x 2.4 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 893,878 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

It’s hardly surprising that this beautifully turned novel about a strong-willed Chinese woman working as a private investigator in Beijing is such a delight: the cachet that accompanies most novels published by Picador is usually in place: as it most certainly is with Diane Wei Liang’s The Eye of Jade. What makes the novel particularly interesting is its refusal to be slotted into any one genre: it’s a literary novel, undoubtedly (the publisher’s imprint guarantees that); it’s also a crime novel, pushing satisfactorily most of the buttons that we expect in that field. And it’s a comedy: the sardonic humour involving the heroine’s fraught relations with those around her are perfectly judged. Mei, the protagonist, is an investigator. A friend of her mother, known as ‘Uncle Chen’, asks her to track down a Han-dynasty jade that vanished from a museum during the terrible upheavals of the Cultural Revolution. Was the jade a victim of the brutal, philistine Red Guards, ruthlessly shattering the great legacies of the past? Or are more complex subterfuges involved? As Mei digs deeper, she begins to unravel a series of labyrinthine mysteries – some with resonances even within her own family. Detective fiction is a much-plundered genre, both by genre practitioners and those with more literary aims – and it’s the latter writers who are more likely to come a cropper when attempting to reinvent the standard tropes of the field. But Diane Wei Liang avoids all such pitfalls. This is a provocative, intriguing and accomplished piece of writing. --Barry Forshaw --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

This gripping account of a female gumshoes's search for a Han dynasty artefact in modern Beijing is part thriller and part analysis of the city's past and present. --High Life

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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
An entertaining, well-written crime novel, with interesting insights into modern China for the armchair traveller. The author doesn't make the mistake of lecturing the reader, but shows something of China and its political past and present, weaving the politics and culture into the narrative, using a light touch with deft characterisation. Contemporary Chinese writing is all too often ignored by Western readers - and that is a great loss. It's a weekend read, and makes no pretence at being great literature.
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Format: Hardcover
Many detective stories seek to balance the back story and everyday life of the detective with the investigation and the resolution of the mystery. In most cases, the balance veers towards the mystery element of the story, with the main character's personal life and history taking a back seat. In The Eye of Jade, Diane Wei Liang reverses this balance. The story mostly focuses on the main character, Mei Wang, and her relationship to her mother and sister, and the family's murky past tied up in the Cultural Revolution. As such, the mystery element to the story is largely a plot device to enable the family history and present relations to be examined. As a result, the investigation is a little thin and sketchy, with a somewhat quick and weak resolution. This is, however, compensated to a degree by some nice characterisation, especially Mei Wang as a strong willed woman who is a little out of sync and place with Chinese social norms, and nice contextualisation with respect to life in Beijing, Chinese culture and values, family relationships, and China's recent past. Overall, a detective story that needed a little more focus on the mystery element, but nonetheless an interesting read.
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Format: Paperback
Having read A Lake With No Name i was really interested to see Wei Liangs attempt at fiction...i was not disappointed. A gripping tale which had me hooked from the first to last page, tells the story of Mei and illegal private detective living in China after the cultural revolution. this at first appears to be a typical detective story but as the story unfolds we see that it has more to do with Wei and her family than is originally thought. What i found most interesting and wondferful about this novel are the paralles between Mei and Diane Wei Liang. From reading A Lake With No Name i was able to see how much of herself Wei Liang had poured into Mei, not onyl personality but also her home life. Fantastic author & a fantiastic story!! Bravo!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A subtle and spellbinding and ultimately moving story that explains a lot about China today. It is a detective story but quite unlike most detective stories.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I enjoy books about China and enjoy crime writing, but unfortunately this one is shallow, dull and uninspired. Dubbed by one critic as a "Bridget Jones" in modern China book, apart from being a singleton with a chip on her shoulder, there is no romance. As for the bridges between modern and old China that this book supposedly traverses, this is not a book that taught me anything useful. And as for the protagonist's red Mitsubishi, given to her by her more successful sister, so what? Must the car be referred to umpteen times?
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