keskiviikko 1. huhtikuuta 2009

Shanghai Baby

I don't find any inner burning to read each and every book that has been written of my native home town, Tampere. But for a reason or another, now living here in Shanghai, I am quite intrigued about books, movies, and what nots about Shanghai. I guess it is one way to learn more about the city. To feel more Shanghainese, less like an intruder. To have another viewpoint to the life in this buzzling, multi-polaris city. I am especially interested, if it is something that has been banned in China. Literary forbidden fruit.

Recently, I bumped into a novel "Shanghai Baby", by Wei Hui Zhou. There is a strange mood in the story. It is not violent, but it is a tad oppressive. I had nightmares if I read the book at nights!

Within the first 20 pages you can see why it was "banned and burned in China": If you remember, I told you at the beginning of my stay, that any physical intimacy, even if not that explicit, had been cencored from the romantic comedy I went to see to the movies. In this book the sex is explicit and über-realistic. And rude, at times.

I kept reading, 'cause I wanted to finnish the story. I wanted to be released from it. It is not an easy reading though: sadness, death and betrayal present at all times. To be honest, the greatest satisfaction comes from possessing and reading a book that is banned here. That's my inner rebel!

You didn't know I have one, did you?

A movie of the book was made in 2007. That hasn't received too high scores from the public, either. I haven't seen it. My friend said "if the book is not good, the movie is just poor, plain and simple". So I'm not sure I am gonna see it either. But got to keep trying: I have "Se, jie" (Lust, Caution) awaiting: "An espionage thriller set in WWII-era Shanghai". I'll see tomorrow if it is any good. Should be, based on the reviews. This one, too, was cencored (or heavily edited) for Chinese markets. C'est la vie dans Chine.

(I don't speak French, so please just forgive me any mistakes, will you.)

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