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Original Essays | September 15, 2014

Lois Leveen: IMG Forsooth Me Not: Shakespeare, Juliet, Her Nurse, and a Novel



There's this writer, William Shakespeare. Perhaps you've heard of him. He wrote this play, Romeo and Juliet. Maybe you've heard of it as well. It's... Continue »
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    Juliet's Nurse

    Lois Leveen 9781476757445

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The Girl Who Played Go

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The Girl Who Played Go Cover

 

Awards

Winner of the 2004 Kiriyama Prize for Fiction

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In a remote Manchurian town in the 1930s, a sixteen-year-old girl is more concerned with intimations of her own womanhood than the escalating hostilities between her countrymen and their Japanese occupiers. While still a schoolgirl in braids, she takes her first lover, a dissident student. The more she understands of adult life, however, the more disdainful she is of its deceptions, and the more she loses herself in her one true passion: the ancient game of go.

Incredibly for a teenager — and a girl at that — she dominates the games in her town. No opponent interests her until she is challenged by a stranger, who reveals himself to us as a Japanese soldier in disguise. They begin a game and continue it for days, rarely speaking but deeply moved by each other's strategies. As the clash of their peoples becomes ever more desperate and inescapable, and as each one's untold life begins to veer wildly off course, the girl and the soldier are absorbed by only one thing — the progress of their game, each move of which brings them closer to their shocking fate.

In The Girl Who Played Go, Shan Sa has distilled the piercing emotions of adolescence into an engrossing, austerely beautiful story of love, cruelty and loss of innocence.

Review:

"The story is as lovely and delicate as a carved jade flower — and can seem as cold to the touch. This is beautiful writing, but it's a bit remote." Library Journal

Review:

"Intense, operatic personal tragedy magnified by Sa's sense of history and Eastern culture." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"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

Review:

"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

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

Review:

"Dreamy... powerful... this unlikely love story... is beautiful, shocking, and sad." Jennifer Reese, Entertainment Weekly

Review:

"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

Synopsis:

As the Japanese military invades 1930s Manchuria, a young girl approaches her own sexual coming of age. Drawn into a complex triangle with two boys, she distracts herself from the onslaught of adulthood by playing the game of go with strangers in a public square--and yet the force of desire, like the occupation, proves inevitable. Unbeknownst to the girl who plays go, her most worthy and frequent opponent is a Japanese soldier in disguise. Captivated by her beauty as much as by her bold, unpredictable approach to the strategy game, the soldier finds his loyalties challenged. Is there room on the path to war for that most revolutionary of acts: falling in love?

About the Author

Shan Sa was born in 1972 in Beijing. In 1990 she left China for France, where she studied in Paris and worked for two years with the painter Balthus. Her two previous novels were awarded the Prix Goncourt du Premier Roman and the Prix Cazes. This is her first book to be published in the United States.

Product Details

ISBN:
9781400032280
Author:
Sa, Shan
Publisher:
Vintage Books
Author:
Shan, Sa
Author:
Kim, Chi-Young
Author:
Kim, Young-ha
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
History
Subject:
Manchuria (china)
Subject:
Go (game)
Subject:
Manchuria (China) History 1931-1945.
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
fiction;china;japan;historical fiction;romance;novel;war;literature;french;manchuria;asia;wwii;france;chinese literature
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series:
Vintage
Publication Date:
20041031
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
no art
Pages:
288
Dimensions:
8 x 5.31 in 0.7 lb

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The Girl Who Played Go Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$3.95 In Stock
Product details 288 pages Vintage Books USA - English 9781400032280 Reviews:
"Review" by , "The story is as lovely and delicate as a carved jade flower — and can seem as cold to the touch. This is beautiful writing, but it's a bit remote."
"Review" by , "Intense, operatic personal tragedy magnified by Sa's sense of history and Eastern culture."
"Review" by , "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."
"Review" by , "Measured... Precise... The historical backdrop, itself a forceful character, provides a compelling context for this economical story of impossible love."
"Review" by , "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."
"Review" by , "Dreamy... powerful... this unlikely love story... is beautiful, shocking, and sad."
"Review" by , "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."
"Synopsis" by , As the Japanese military invades 1930s Manchuria, a young girl approaches her own sexual coming of age. Drawn into a complex triangle with two boys, she distracts herself from the onslaught of adulthood by playing the game of go with strangers in a public square--and yet the force of desire, like the occupation, proves inevitable. Unbeknownst to the girl who plays go, her most worthy and frequent opponent is a Japanese soldier in disguise. Captivated by her beauty as much as by her bold, unpredictable approach to the strategy game, the soldier finds his loyalties challenged. Is there room on the path to war for that most revolutionary of acts: falling in love?
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