A book that was banned in China in April 2000,”Shanghai Baby”captured my interest right then and there when I learned that fact from a friend. In the book, it was stated that an estimate of 40, 000 copies were even publicly burned. What triggered this reaction of the Chinese government? Well, allow me to tell you and give you some sort of a preview to the book.
A very aggressive writer, Wei Hui narrates the story of a woman who struggles to find fulfillment in her life. In fact, this book is kind of a semi-autobiography of the author too. The novel revolves around Nikki also known as Coco, a 25-year-old cafe waitress who later on decided to pursue her writing when she met a young artist named TianTian. She fell in love with him and even lived with him but amidst the relationship, there is this emptiness that lurks in her heart.
Then she met Mark, an adventurous, wealthy man who became her German lover. She found that passion and sexual satisfaction in him that her live-in boyfriend cannot give. With all the twists of her two relationships, she struggled to finish a novel that would reflect the ‘real world’. And thus, it is through her novel too (and with a bit help from her live-in boyfriend) when Coco begins to know who she really is.
“Shanghai Baby” truly has that aggressive voice of today’s generation. The views on life, love and sex have never been so realistic. The language is both poetic, sensual and full of sincerity. This novel suits not only the youth but all ages who are still at the crossroads of their life.
A journey to one’s own life and dreams is never really easy and the book served like a map or rather a guide. There was no doubt that it became a bestseller. And also, became very controversial.
Well, let me give you some of the great lines from the book…
* “Death is the expression of exhaustion, a solution arrived at rationally once one has known the deepest depths of tiredness.” -TianTian (Coco’s boyfriend).
* “Life is like a chronic illness, and finding something interesting to do is a kind of long term cure.” -Coco
This novel is truly a must-read. Though I must say, that you must watch out for the ending of the story since it might leave you craving for more of it. Anyway, the sequel of this novel is “Marrying Buddha”. I think I should read it soon too.