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The Girl Who Played Go Hardcover – 1 May 2003

4.8 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Chatto & Windus; First American Edition edition (1 May 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0701174005
  • ISBN-13: 978-0701174002
  • Product Dimensions: 21.8 x 13.8 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,926,330 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


The Girl Who Played Go is a sparse, delicately constructed, slowly paced novel, but no less moving for that. -- The Big Issue, April 14-20 2003

A dramatic tale of love set against the backdrop of wartorn 1930's China. Haunting and powerful. -- B Magazine May edition

Sa's language is graceful and trance-like: her fights are a whirling choreography......her emotions richly yet precisely expressed.....a moving third novel. -- T2, The Times 14th May.

About the Author

Shan Sa was born in 1972 in Beijing. She left China for France in 1990, studied in Paris and worked for two years for the painter Balthus. Her two previous novels were awarded the Prix Goncourt du Premier Roman and the Prix Cazes.

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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This is a really striking novel. I originally bought it because of my interest in the game of Go. However this is largely a side issue to the novel itself - although a game of Go between the two characters frames and defines their whole life. Written simultaneously from the first person viewpoint of the two main characters - a manchurian girl and a japanese soldier in the Japanese/Manchurian occupation before the Second War war it tells the story of their thoughts, lives, reactions to the world around them and the brewing war between Japan and China. Their relationships and loves, which eventually, yet obliquely bring them together. The end is gobsmacking - and not at all what you are expecting.
Marvellous book, well worth your money!
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Format: Hardcover
This unique novel is set during war time between China and Japan, and we are living inside the mind of the two progagonists, a young Chinese woman and a Japanese soldier, who meet while playing 'go' (a kind of Asian chess game) in the city square.
The writing is powerful, poetic and disturbing, and the story is gripping enough to make you want to read to the last page. There are some very vivid and violent scenes, so this is not a novel for the faint-hearted. The translation from the French holds amazingly well (not something common in all works translated) and at times it's hard to believe this work wasn't originally written in English--well done Adriana Hunter. Both characters tell their stories from the first view point, and my only criticism is that there isn't much difference in the voices (they both seem to have the same gift for describing details), and at times, particularly towards the beginning, I couldn't tell immediately which chapter belonged to whom.
However, it certainly a memorable novel, and I strongly recommend it.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I read this about 5 years ago, with great pleasure. Set in Manchuria in the 30s, it documents the early life of a western educated Chinese girl, contrasting eastern and western cultures. In the latter part of the book, in her 20s, living under Japanese military control, and working for the Chinese resistance, she develops a relationship with a Go playing Japanese security officer. It is an intelligent and compassionate book, well written, a page turner, and most revealing about that period of history in the far east. The game of Go, among other things, represents the subtle but brutal interactions between Chinese and the Japanese invaders - but also the power struggle between man and woman, destruction and construction. Go is a constructive game, unlike chess. An excellent novel which I would recommend especially to lovers of Go, people, politics, eastern modern history, WW2, romance and spy thrillers. It contains about three scenes of delightful sex and cruel violence, which though not gratuitous, could be upsetting to those of a sensitive disposition. A good read, well edited, and not too long, my recall of the book is many vivid images, though I never saw the film.
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