Nanjing 1937

by Zhaoyan Ye | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 0571218113 Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingAceofHeartswing of Mississauga, Ontario Canada on 4/14/2007
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2 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by wingAceofHeartswing from Mississauga, Ontario Canada on Saturday, April 14, 2007
From Publishers Weekly
Enormously popular in China, this winning, witty English-language debut by Ye (author of more than 30 books in his native country) traces the unlikely romance between a womanizing professor and the much younger wife of a fighter pilot on the eve of the catastrophic Japanese invasion of Nanjing. Ding Wenyu has been known to storm out of class if there aren't enough pretty girls to teach. He's legendary among his students for his brothel slang and clowning. Outside the classroom, the intemperate Ding bemoans his disintegrating marriage while recklessly seducing countless other women. He's perpetually drunk and despondent until, at the wedding of one of his colleague's daughters, he falls madly in love-with the bride. Ding discomfits the young Ren Yuyuan with his lovestruck stares. After the wedding, he sends Ren daily love letters and bides his time as her relationship with her solemn, philandering husband slowly unravels. Bitter and lonely, Ren finds Ding's attentions newly intriguing. Ding, for his part, feels his lifelong cynicism give way to genuine emotion. The pending war lends the romance a special urgency, and the lovers finally consummate their affair as the first Japanese soldiers storm into Nanjing. Ye paints a rich tableau of prewar Chinese politics and social mores. The contrast between the advance of the Japanese and Ding's slow seduction of Ren is both poignant and deliciously ironic. The only weakness is Berry's uneven, sometimes stiff translation ("At the wedding ceremony... the biggest embarrassment Ding Wenyu caused stemmed from the way he wantonly stared at the bride Yuyuan").

Journal Entry 2 by wingAceofHeartswing from Mississauga, Ontario Canada on Friday, May 30, 2008
This book takes place in Nanjing the year leading up to the infamous massacre by the Japanese in 1937. The story is about Ding Wenyu, a womanizing professor of foreign languages. He is a immensely popular professor who does not abide by any rule of either etiquette or common sense. He is invited to the wedding of one of his colleague's and falls head over heels in love with the bride, Ren Yuyuan. He starts by sending daily love letters to her. She at first is embarrassed and does not know how to handle the undeserved attention. Ren's marriage to a arrogant philandering pilot has problems from the start.

The urgency of the love because of the environment gets more and more tense at the invasion draws nearer.

There is a tremendous amount of detail in this book. The author describes this year in amazing attention to detail. The amount of research done was phenomenal. The Chinese politics and attitudes are described.

I found this book intriguing but difficult to read. First the romance was a little farcical. This may be the Chinese style. The book read like a history book at times instead of a historical fiction. I do not know whether this is because of the amount of detail in the book or because of the translation

Journal Entry 3 by wingAceofHeartswing from Mississauga, Ontario Canada on Friday, January 09, 2009
mailed today to Zosime who won this in a LIT swap

Journal Entry 4 by zosime from Marshfield, Wisconsin USA on Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Thank you! It looks like an interesting read.

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