Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Shanghai Baby

Shanghai Baby
by Zhou Wei Hui
Translated by Bruce Humes

An interesting, but in the end somewhat light-weight novel. I generally have an affinity for books that go into detail about relationships, especially complex ones. Shanghai Baby definitely does this, talking about love, loyalty, sex, attraction, etc and does so quite honestly. I think the best aspects of this book are first and foremost, the strong and specific perspective of the main character, Coco, who is young, ambitious, creative, attractive, sexual, and Shanghai-centric and secondly, her take on being in love with one man, Tian Tian, while having a sexual relationship with another, Mark.

However, going beyond that, there is not much actual meat to the novel. Just to name a few complaints: the details about the main character's relationship with the man she loved was actually surprisingly sparse. There was very little description of what Shanghai was like as a city. And lastly, there were a number of pop-culture references and quotes which were just random and without any particular deeper meaning for their use.

All in all, this was a interesting and fast read, but in the end, not that significant.