Most helpful positive review
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
A story of love, sex and self-discovery.
on 15 December 2001
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.