The China Lover

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9780143116080: The China Lover

From Shanghai before and during the Second World War to U.S.?occupied Tokyo, and, finally, to the Middle East in the early 1970s, Ian Buruma's masterful new novel about the intoxicating power of collective fantasy follows three star-struck men driven to extraordinary acts by their devotion to the same legendary woman. A beautiful Japanese girl born in Manchuria, Yamaguchi Yoshiko is known as Ri Koran in Japan, Li Xianglan in China, and Shirley Yamaguchi in the U.S.?and her past is a closely guarded secret. In Buruma's reimagining of the life of Yamaguchi Yoshiko, a Japanese girl torn between patriotism for her parents? homeland, worldly ambition, and sympathy for the Chinese, she will reflect almost exactly the twists and turns in the history of modern Japan. The China Lover is both luminously written and imbued with the insights and erudition that have made Ian Buruma one of the most respected writers on modern Asia.

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Product Description:

Ian Buruma's epic novel is the richly imagined story of one woman's struggle to survive in the face of war and occupation in the Far East during the Second World War. It should appeal to anyone who loved Memoirs of a Geisha. When Sidney Vanoven is sent to occupied Japan, in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War, it is his dream posting. By day, he works in the censor's office watching Japanese films; at night he immerses himself in the sensual pleasures of Tokyo. His job leads him into the circle of the beautiful film star Shirley Yamaguchi, a passionate and indomitable woman, whose wartime secrets hint at deception and betrayal. As he becomes increasingly aware of her story, it seems to point at the dark heart of Japan itself. In "The China Lover", Ian Buruma has created a saga of modern Japan that is epic in scale, richly imagined and vividly populated. It is quite simply unforgettable.

Review:

"Evocative...brings her world vividly to life...always fascinating."
a "The New York Times Book Review"
aA lushly rendered piece of historical fictiona]Buruma conveys the exhilaration and devastation of Japan's military folly and its resulting moral hangover through the lens of the film world at the time. With a sharp yet generous eye, Buruma explores the moods and sensibilities of the movie business in wartime Shanghai and postwar Tokyo. His novel seems to revel in and see through the filmmaking and its role in shaping memory and history. It's a cinematic story, in topic and form, made richer by the fertile emotional terrain of its fallible protagonists. "The China Lover" overflows with intriguing charactersa]. Buruma seems to know every nook and cranny of this landscapea].His novel takes us deep into events of the 20th century and shows us with vivid strokes what it felt likea
a"Los Angeles Times"
aLushly informative, cynically interesting.a
a"San Francisco Chronicle"
aA truly fantastic subject for a novela
a"New York Observer"
aIn "The China Lover," Buruma has captured the mutable contradictions of her life and made from them a kaleidoscope through which to see a giant swathe of 20th- century history from angles you've never viewed it before. It's a dizzying, dazzling experience.a
a"The Seattle Times"
aBuruma found his perfect subject in Yoshiko Yamaguchi, the nearly forgotten, once controversial Japanese singer and actress turned journalist and politician. The dark deeds of Tokyo gangsters, the endless horror of Hiroshima, the deep wounds of occupation, the sensuous power of film, and the strange circumstances that induced three Japanesegunmen to launch a terrorist attack on the Tel Aviv airportaaall are facets in Burumaas magnificent saga of war and prejudice, beauty and tyranny, sacrifice and survival.a
a"Booklist"

"A lushly rendered piece of historical fiction."
-"Los Angeles Times"

"A fascinating fictional biography-not only of an iconic film star, but of film as an expression of a nation's culture and psyche."
-"The Washington Post"

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