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.