The Girl Who Played Go Paperback – 3 Jun 2004
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"Measured . . . Precise . . . The historical backdrop, itself a forceful character, provides a compelling context for this economical story of impossible love."-Sara Ivry, "San Francisco Chronicle" "Spare prose adorned with images that linger in the mind . . . In this elegant translation . . . the dreamlike, mesmerizing alternation of voices stands in uneasy contrast to the operatic violence of the plot."-Janice P. Nimura, "New York Times Book Review""What makes Sa's novel so satisfying is the deceptive simplicity of her narrative strategy . . . We watch in fascination as the terrible secrets of their lives begin to coincide."-Charles Matthews, "San Jose Mercury News""Shan manipulates the scope of silence with a wisdom beyond her years."-Elsa Gaztambide, "Booklist""Dreamy . . . powerful . . . this unlikely love story . . . is beautiful, shocking, and sad."-Jennifer Reese, "Entertainment Weekly""Lovely and delicate as a carved jade flower . . . This is beautiful writing."-Barbara Hoffert, "Library Journal""Harrowing . . . While exploring epic themes like the loss of innocence and the meaning of honor, it lingers on the tiny, exquisite details of life in a remote, cosmopolitan Manchurian town in the thirties."-Elizabeth Schmidt, "Vogue" "From the Hardcover edition."
'A carefully wrought novel-a story that is worth telling, and intriguingly told' GuardianSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great buy, arrived promptly, in good condition, brilliant book, read it before but it got lost.
Worth getting it again.
In parts a delightful and evocative book based in Manchuria as seen through the eyes of a Chinese girl and a Japanese occupier. Read morePublished on 7 Jan. 2011 by Maria