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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Chinese sopa opera
Having observed the couples who had muddled along in search of love and fulfilment in Shanghai, Mr Persons gave the vivid descriptions of the couples who married and set up the family life, despite having complicated histories and backgrounds, which had led them have even more disastrous and miserable life, in coupled with a series of dilemmas of modern life in urban...
Published on 20 Oct 2009 by superblues

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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The dilemmas of adultery with a twist
I found the contemporary China angle fascinating and as it was a long time since I had read his other books, the characters were fresh. In the light of recent news about infected baby milk and having watched the glitze of the Olympics, it was very interesting to get to the heart of the Chinese people. Life is cheap when there are so many lives in one place and with very...
Published on 5 Oct 2008 by RH


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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The dilemmas of adultery with a twist, 5 Oct 2008
By 
RH (Evesham, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: My Favourite Wife (Paperback)
I found the contemporary China angle fascinating and as it was a long time since I had read his other books, the characters were fresh. In the light of recent news about infected baby milk and having watched the glitze of the Olympics, it was very interesting to get to the heart of the Chinese people. Life is cheap when there are so many lives in one place and with very little spiritual underpinning of society, the goal is always profit at the sacrifice of feelings.

The family is central again in his novel but the Chinese family relations make for an interesting contrast. His father and their relationship is juxtaposed with the Chinese mistress and her father. Having lived abroad, I really related to the pull of the elderly relatives back at home and the innocence of those newly arrived compared to those who have lived in such an environment for some time.

Not a book to make you feel comfortable, either with the Western influence on Chinese society or the inner workings of the heart.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Modern "Suzie Wong" copy, 10 Jun 2009
This review is from: My Favourite Wife (Paperback)
Reading the synopsis, I thought this might be an interesting book to read.
However, the more I read, the more I was reminded of the film 'The world of Suzie Wong' - her name was also mentioned in this book.
There are just too many parallels, like: Suzie Wong has a child the main male character knows nothing about until much later - JinJin Li has a child Bill only finds out about later, and there is even a 'plain Jane', who Parsons describes as 'ugly' girl in there that knits all the time - just like in the 'Suzie Wong' film, where there is also a bookish-looking girl that knits forever.

And it can't be coincidence that the main character of this book - Bill Holden - just so happen to be the name of the main actor in the 'Suzy Wong' film - William (Bill) Holden.

The more I read, the more I thought that this was just a modernised and updated copy of the 1960 film 'The World of Suzie Wong', and not even a very good one.
One thing is for sure, after reading this story, I don't ever want to live in Shanghai!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Chinese sopa opera, 20 Oct 2009
By 
This review is from: My Favourite Wife (Paperback)
Having observed the couples who had muddled along in search of love and fulfilment in Shanghai, Mr Persons gave the vivid descriptions of the couples who married and set up the family life, despite having complicated histories and backgrounds, which had led them have even more disastrous and miserable life, in coupled with a series of dilemmas of modern life in urban cities. Those couples cannot help having obsessive mind of feeling jealousy, resentment, and injustice of the partner's current and previous relationships, it has given despondent, insecure, unpleasant atmosphere to their daughters. As a Western origin, it is impossible to disregard the fact that the majority of the Chinese people have never been freer, happier, and will be even given the freedom of express their true feelings. China's industry and economy have developed at incredible speed, living in big cities like Shanghai or Hong Kong conveys the world of the continuous industrious revolutions happening in the 21st century, and amazingly it doesn't seem to be ending. By the same token, four in five Chinese people suffer the poverty and great discomfort and threat of their life caused by corruption and pollution on an unimaginable scale, and the Communist government has not still started solving the problems.

All in all, it's a very entertaining love story of several couples who live in a fast moving and very problematic society.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Emotional volume turned up to 11!, 18 Jun 2009
This review is from: My Favourite Wife (Paperback)
The story has been told so many times for it to be a cliché - a successful man with a beautiful wife and adorable child, the envy of everyone, somehow manages to get involved with another woman...

Here the English family are relocated to burgeoning Shanghai, a move which offers Bill a short-track to becoming a legal partner. And the opportunities don't end there - the work hard, play hard atmosphere is all too infectious. The result is an emotional roller-coaster - confusion, excitement, passion, regret, anger and sorrow. The strangeness of the location only adds to the intensity.

To me the book contained a rather simplified view of China which is not totally convincing - but to be fair we are dealing with someone who just got off the plane to do a job... it just about works. The weakest point has to be the speeches on the dilemmas facing modern China - however articulate lawyers are I can't imagine anyone coming out with such pronouncements over a few drinks.

Where I found Parsons at his best was dealing with human nature and relationships - by pushing them to their limits we get to see just what a marriage and a family are made of.

Yes, the story is as old as the hills and it doesn't go anywhere new. Still, it is readable and enjoyable, expect to have your heart-strings tugged at!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars We've been here before, 12 April 2011
This review is from: My Favourite Wife (Paperback)
I've always been a fan of Tony Parson's writing, and My Favourite Wife has been the only disappointment so far. Other reviews have covered several flaws, but here's my take on it:

The "feel" of Shanghai is great and though I've never been there before, having visited Hong Kong I got a real sense of authenticity about his writing. You can almost smell Shanghai through this book, but the problem is - as someone else mentioned in their review - it appears Parsons forgot about the human story.

Much of what happens is predictable and doesn't make sense. I found myself growing more and more irritated with the central character, because he's just not likeable, neither are almost any of the other characters in the book. It's a simple story that's really drawn out (far too much in my opinion), complete with the obligatory family death, the conflict of conscience in a (basically) unethical job, all neatly wrapped up in "doing the right thing" finale.

Overall I found this to be quite readable, however it's predictable, it's not at all funny, and it's actually quite depressing with a final act which doesn't really satisfy (and don't get me started on the flood section...I thought I'd just jumped into another book, it was so jarring and contrived).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading for those planning to spend time in China, 10 April 2008
By 
SJ Emmott - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: My Favourite Wife (Hardcover)
I bought and read this book whilst stuck in transit at Heathrow for 7 hours (sound familiar?) having just arrived back from Shanghai.
It is a very easy read and, were it not for my being able to relate to the Shanghai setting, I would have given it fewer stars.
The plot is simple and predictable; far behind Tony Parsons' best work. However, he is absolutely spot on in his evocation of present day expat Shanghai. For this reason, I recommend it as essential reading for anyone (regardless of their marital status!) who is going to spend time in Shanghai or elsewhere in mainland China.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Stick to Portugese wine Tony, 16 Feb 2009
This review is from: My Favourite Wife (Paperback)
I have read all of Tony Parsons' books and they have varied from tolerable bloke lit to self congratulation about what a trendy young gunslinger he once was. Other reviewers have already said this book is overlong and dull. Painfully, it is also very repetitive, with the protagonist droning on for pages when we lost interest in his dilemmas ages before.

Parsons' other books have taken us through the reasons why marriages are so difficult and even how hard it is for men who cheat and why don't women just understand that if the other woman wasn't so exceptional it wouldn't have happened. In this case none of the characters is likeable (even the child is precocious and annoying) and he's so pleased with himself for painting a picture of modern China that he's forgotten to tell a human story. The interview in the back of the book is really pretentious - sorry Tone no one cares about your obsession with Asian women. And I am an Asian woman !!

The father storyline we've read before - many times - and adds little value. I felt cross when I'd finished this book as I'd spent so long waiting for something of interest to happen and it just didn't. The cover is pretty though.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 1 Sep 2008
By 
Andy Y (London, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: My Favourite Wife (Paperback)
Tony Parsons' books used to be my staple holiday reading. Not any more. Whilst the research into China is impressive, the book is boring and too long. The story could have been told with 200 pages rather than over 400. The main character is unlikeable and one does not really care whether he stays with his trophy wife or not. The character of the mistress is completely shallow and it is unclear as to why the male lead is interested in her. Maybe because of the Mini Cooper with the Chinese flag on the roof. The worst thing is that Tony Parsons reuses the dying father issue to fill about 30 pages when it is unclear as to what purpose the father character serves and why he has to die. Next time I go on summer holiday I will have to go into a book shop, read at least a chapter of Tony Parsons' new book and will pass if it appears to be as pointless as this one.
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Shallow, predictable, boring, 22 Aug 2008
By 
Self-help junkie (Birmingham, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: My Favourite Wife (Paperback)
I read one of Tony Parson's books years ago and thought it was OK. This was going cheap so I picked it up somewhere - and it's just like the other one! The main male character is totally unlikeable; self-obsessed, selfish, self-justifying - and the others are just cardboard cut-outs: all very predictable, from the perfect, understanding wife, to the sad, but brave, Chinese mistress. That would be bad enough. But Parson's writing style drives me nuts: it's so self-conscious and trite, and just full of empty cliches. And it reads so obviously as though he has one eye on the film rights - it almost has scene directions for a producer!
I won't be reading any more of Parsons - I'm afraid the stories are just too repetitive and predictable. There is no real conflict, or inner development of character.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The worse book i have ever read., 8 Jan 2009
By 
This review is from: My Favourite Wife (Hardcover)
Man wife and child go to China. Man has affair. Nothing else happens. I wasted a few hours of my life reading this and didn't enjoy it a bit. In a world full of marvellous art I would steer clear this book.
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My Favourite Wife
My Favourite Wife by Tony Parsons (Paperback - 4 Aug 2008)
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