Blogging the Bookshelf

Blogging my bookshelf – one book at a time

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"The Girl Who Played Go", Shan Sa

June 1st, 2009 · No Comments · Asian, Chinese

shan-sa-the-girl-who-played-goSynopsis: Chinese teenager and Japanese soldier develop a bond while playing Go in a small town in occupied Manchuria.

My Take: A common theme in the ex-pat Chinese authors I’ve read to date (eg Ha Jin, Yiyun Li) is melodrama and The Girl Who Played Go is no exception. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but they definitely turn the emotional torment of their characters up to 11. I’m still trying to work out whether this is an inherently Chinese characteristic or something that has been triggered by the torments of fleeing your home country. At any rate, I think the heightened emotions work in this book and fitted well with the story’s dramatic canvas of soldiers, revolutionaries and teenage girls.

Highlight: From the reviews I’ve read the ending is a bit of a love it or loathe it affair. For my part I liked it and thought it gave the book a much greater impact than it had developed up to that time. I’m not going to spoil it for you though – you’ll just have to read it for yourself.

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