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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful
Breathtakingly written, Sa's elegant language carries you through the whirland of love and sorrow life brings. Somehow she manages to capture the deep intensities of love, and leave you with a dark haunting sorrow as the book climbs gracefully to its dramatic climax.
Not only is the language beautiful, but the story it relates is tense, gripping and filled with a...
Published on 12 Sept. 2004 by Jess

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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Silk Cuts
Shan Sa has written an aloof little book about the violent Japanese occupation of China, as experienced by a Manchurian girl and an officer from Tokyo.

A good half of the book builds up to their eventual meeting over a prolonged game of go. There are quite a few flashbacks to the Tokyo earthquake and the officer's earlier affairs with geishas and prostitutes,...
Published on 6 Oct. 2004 by Is


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, 12 Sept. 2004
By 
Jess (Cheshire, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Girl Who Played Go (Paperback)
Breathtakingly written, Sa's elegant language carries you through the whirland of love and sorrow life brings. Somehow she manages to capture the deep intensities of love, and leave you with a dark haunting sorrow as the book climbs gracefully to its dramatic climax.
Not only is the language beautiful, but the story it relates is tense, gripping and filled with a rich passion rarely found in contemporary fiction. Set in a shaky country, amid troubled times where people are forced to struggle against all odds to mould their futures in the finicky political environment around them, their is a sort of shy hope that comes with tragedy of love and betrayal depicted.
I've never read any of Shan Sa's other works, but after the taste this book has given me, I'm intrigued by her style, and intoxicated by her portrayal of China, and I've no doubt I will go on to savour every last word she writes. Definiately one of, if not the best book I've ever read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very satisfying., 25 July 2010
By 
FAMOUS NAME (UNITED KINGDOM) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Girl Who Played Go (Paperback)
This is an unusual read - but interesting.

It's a story set in China during the 30s - a sort of love story centred around the ancient game of 'Go'. This is the second time I have read this book. I'd recalled enjoying it and thinking it was good the first time (about five or six years ago) but didn't remember much about it - or 'why' I thought it was so good. (if that makes any sense!) Anyhow; about a third in this time, I was puzzled as to what it was that I'd actually liked about it first time around, then it began to 'pick up' and I began to remember what it was and really got into it!

This has both an unpredictable and 'tragic' ending in store for the Reader, and gives much thought-provoking. However; I did find some of the phrases and language just a bit too 'modernistic' in places for the perios, but then this could simply be due to translation.

I did like the fact that it has a good sized print type though that's easy on the eye, and that it also has VERY short chapters - some only as long as two pages! I LOVE short chapters; they give such convenient breaks, and one is not 'over-faced' by pages and pages before being able to place a book mark for later.

Recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Poetic Love, 23 Dec. 2005
This review is from: The Girl Who Played Go (Paperback)
It is a new kind of story for me. Not exactly like Romeo & Juliet or Sampek Engkay, the degree of love between the Japanese soldier and the Chinese girl had reached beyond physical barrier even before the inevitable circumstances took over. There were only minor, polite contact between them, and yet, they knew each other's soul.
It is amazing how by playing go, you'll get to know your opposite's nature which oneself doesn't always do. So is in the war. The setting of Japanese invasion into China in 1930's is frequently compared to the strategies played in go. Although I know nothing about go, I think I could take in the messages conveyed well. This is not a book of how to play go. This is the book of the soul of the players and the soul of people.
Mind you that this is not a simple falling in love kind of a story, it is more complicated. The girl and the soldier each had their own (many) lovers with the Japanese soldier acting like other soldiers at that time by visiting prostitutes. Each has their own faults and weakness. Their mutual love of go had nourished further attachment along the way, unnoticed by each.
The words are beautifully composed, added with some ancient poetry from China and Japan. I must say the anonymous element between the soul lovers gives a dreamy, mysterious touch to the story without sacrificing the characters around them. With selective dialogs, Ms. Sa has managed to give us a well crafted tale about love, life and death. Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delightful hours of reading.., 27 Dec. 2006
By 
tiw "tiw" (Amsterdam, NL) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Girl Who Played Go (Paperback)
Shan Sa is very skillful in describing the feelings of both her kind and the man-kind with an unusual way of exposing the story. I enjoyed reading it, even quoted some parts in my daily life. Well done.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Silk Cuts, 6 Oct. 2004
By 
This review is from: The Girl Who Played Go (Paperback)
Shan Sa has written an aloof little book about the violent Japanese occupation of China, as experienced by a Manchurian girl and an officer from Tokyo.

A good half of the book builds up to their eventual meeting over a prolonged game of go. There are quite a few flashbacks to the Tokyo earthquake and the officer's earlier affairs with geishas and prostitutes, while the Manchurian girl gets unwittingly involved in the underground resistance.

Narrated alternatively by these two main characters, the short chapters offer brief, haiku-style glimpses of the events. The mood is dark throughout and full of almost clichéd Chinese lyricism - whirling snow, soft silk, a girl's white cheek... Love is depicted as a destructive force, a power-struggle, mirrored in the cruelty of war.

Still, the story somehow failed to move me. In the end it seemed to me to be a rather empty piece of literature, in spite of all its violent emotions and poetic images.
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5.0 out of 5 stars loved it, 19 Jan. 2014
By 
MAJA NELSON (LONDON, LONDON United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Girl Who Played Go (Paperback)
Great buy, arrived promptly, in good condition, brilliant book, read it before but it got lost.
Worth getting it again.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, 5 Jun. 2015
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This review is from: The Girl Who Played Go (Paperback)
Incredible story. Book in great condition
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well played, 7 Jan. 2011
This review is from: The Girl Who Played Go (Paperback)
In parts a delightful and evocative book based in Manchuria as seen through the eyes of a Chinese girl and a Japanese occupier. The storyline is at times frenetic and then slow and ponderous without being dull, I suspect there are deliberate changes in pace to try and mimic the game in the prose.

Despite being a story not presumably written in English (Shan Sa is based in France) and not being from a familiar backdrop, the book was remarkably easy to read. The short chapters made it ideal as a "read a few chapters before bed" book for me.

That all said, I didn't like the book as much as I wanted too. The violence in one section was very difficult to read and went too far for my liking, however, I can accept it was needed in the storyline but the burgeoning love between the two protagonists was rushed towards the end making me wonder why it ended how it did without something more happening between them. I don't want to say more and risk giving away the plot but for me a good 100 pages more would have set up the same ending brilliantly. However, overall I suspect it's the mark of a good book if you want it to be longer.
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The Girl Who Played Go
The Girl Who Played Go by Shan Sa (Paperback - 3 Jun. 2004)
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