Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

The Girl Who Played Go by Shan Sa - 2001- translated from French by Adrian Hunter - 2004

 The Girl Who Played Go by Shan Sa - 2001- translated from French by Adrian Hunter - 2004

The Girl Who Played Go is set in Manchuria during the Japanese occupation (Sep 18, 1931 – Feb 27, 1932). i found it a very well done addition to my list of historical fiction set in Asia during The World War Two.  The invasion can be seen as a prelude.

There are two central characters, a sixteen year old Chinese girl from a Westernized Family.   Of course horrible things are going on all around her but she is caught up in her Life and with her sister.  She loves to Play Go in a square devoted to games where strangers Play each other.  Both girls are of marriagible age and are potentially valuable. The second character is a lieutunant in the Japanese Army.  Somestimes we see things from her point of view, some his.  He is very dedicated to the Japanese Emperor. His units job is to find and kill anti-Japanese terrorists.  He is brutal to his men and cruel to the Chinese. One day he is ordered  to dress as a Chinese and Go to The Square to Play Go. The idea is to listen in on conversations, to find those who might be terrorists.

In mean time the girl is caught up in a romance.  She becomes pregnant.  She and The Japanese begin a series of games, he develops an obsession with her. He frequents a prostitute, writes his mother and is a good soldier.

The ending is shocking.

I enjoyed this book.  

Her website has a detailed bio.

Shan Sa is the pseudonym of Yan Ni, a French author and painter. The Girl Who Played Go was the first of her novels to be published outside France, and won the Prix Goncourt des Lycéens. Her second novel to appear in English translation was Empress. 

Born: October 26, 1972 (age 48 years), Beijing, China

1 comment:

Suko said...

This is another new-to-me book. It sounds intriguing.