Top positive review
1 of 1 people found this helpful
Tender about the frailties of men,
on 8 June 2009
I like Tony Parsons. He writes about the differences between men and women in a tender way, exposing the frailty and the strength of men. Setting his territory in Shanghai gives this added bite, as not only do the sexes sometimes struggle to understand each other, exploiting each other sometimes wilfully, sometimes inadvertently, but also there is the clash between the West and the East, between old China and new China. I'm surprised by the 'unlikeable central character' reviews, and also those reviews which were negative about Jin Jin Li and what on earth drew the central characters together. That's the point, really. Love (and indeed lust) are often impossible to understand. In fact, probably most of the time we wonder 'what on earth does he/she see in her/him' 'the heart has its reasons which reason knows not of'
Parsons managed to make me understand, feel sorry for, and find it hard to condemn Bill, Jin Jin Li or Shane. The characters I couldn't feel for were the out and out business men, who seemed to live in a world only of reason; lacking heart at all they would never have fallen in love with such devastation. Sure, they would have cheated on their wives, as Bill also did, but the Chinese women would remain just commodities, and the cheating would be unlikely to cause the cheater moral pain.
Parsons writes from a place of great tenderness and understanding of how even the best of us make great mistakes