Shanghai Baby, Paperback
3 out of 5 (1 rating)


Publicly burned in China for its sensual nature and irreverent style, this novel is the semi-autobiographical story of Coco, a cafe waitress, who is full of enthusiasm and impatience for life.

She meets a young man, Tian Tian, for whom she feels tenderness and love, but he is reclusive, impotent and an increasing user of drugs.

Despite parental objections, Coco moves in with him, leaves her job and throws herself into writing.

Shortly afterwards she meets Mark, a married Westerner.

The two are uncontrollably attracted and begin a highly charged, physical affair.

Torn between her two lovers, and tormented by her deceit, her unfinished novel and the conflicting feelings involved in love and betrayal, Coco begins to find out who she really is.

Here is a beautifully written novel with a distinct voice that describes China on the brink of its own social and sexual revolution.




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She writes like a disembodied spirit – atmospheric, intimate, sometimes hollow. In this novel, we follow Coco around Shanghai, and into and out of the arms of her two lovers. She maintains a firefly lightness of language and even manages a little tangle of a plot. She does remind me a lot of Anais Nin, darting from observation to sensation, always just slightly surprised.

Also by Zhou Wei Hui