Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “K: The Art of Love” as Want to Read:
K: The Art of Love
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

K: The Art of Love

3.16 of 5 stars 3.16  ·  rating details  ·  205 ratings  ·  21 reviews
Set in 1930s China, this is a true but tragic tale of romance, sexual desire, and untimely death. Beautiful, intelligent, and schooled in the Daoist arts of love, Lin is married to a provincial university professor. Julian Bell, son of Vanessa Bell, and darling of the Bloomsbury set, has arrived in China, hungry for experience. Their mutual attraction leads to a passionate ...more
Paperback, 262 pages
Published November 1st 2002 by Marion Boyars Publishers Ltd (first published November 1st 1999)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about K, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about K

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 377)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Oh-oh-oh-oh-oooh-oh-oh-oh-oooh-oh-oh-oh! Caught in a bad romance. Rah-rah-ah-ah-ah-ah! China-china-china. Ga-ga-ooh-la-la. Want your bad romance. I would recommend this book because of the steamy sex. But those Brits, they had to put their colonial paws on everything.
Jedna od najvećih trešina koje sam ikad pročitala. Ne znam koji mi je vrag bio; u to doba sam pokušala istražiti egzotične pisce. Drugim riječima, čitala sam kineske, japanske, portugalske, španjolske pisce i naišla, između ostalog na ovu knjigu, na Lutkicu iz Pekinga (Chun Sue), Sažeti Kinesko-engleski rječnik za ljubavnike (Xiaolu Guo), djela Wei Hui (sve stavljam u kategoriju trešine. Na sreću naišla sam i na Things Fall Apart (C. Achebe) i na Implacable Order of Things (Peixoto), što svrstav ...more
Kathy Davie
This is a fictional story about real-life people: Julian Bell and Ling Shuhua.

My Take
I suspect it's a cultural difference, but I did not find K: The Art of Love to be erotic. Primarily because I thought Julian Bell was a naive, selfish, egocentric "boy" playing with people. He wanted what he couldn't have, and as soon as he could have it, he didn't want it.

As far as I'm concerned, there was no loss to the world when he died. His family? Yeah...

My father-in-law was an artist and acquainted with t
Mar 26, 2007 Beth rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fictional biography-literary
Shelves: biography
This fictional biography is based on an actual relationship between Julian Bell (nephew of Virgina Woolf) & "K" a Chinese intellectual in the 1930s. It is tragic, erotic & simply written. It is an excellent study in contrasts: male/female, Chinese/British, yin/yang as well as similarities such as K being a member of the Chinese version of the Bloomsbery group. A very unique piece of prose. Written by a young Chinese woman, it was fraught with controversy such that she was legally forced ...more
"La finzione non può essere più erotica di ciò che sperimentiamo nella vita reale".

Nell'ultima pagina di questo splendido tesoro, l'autrice precisa lo scopo che si era prefissata attraverso la narrazione di una storia d'amore, passione, distruzione che non ha niente a che vedere con le spesso banali storie narrateci in questi ultimi anni.

Ammetto d'aver avuto una relazione alquanto complicata con questo romanzo. Appena acquistato, iniziai a leggerlo subito... Curiosa di conoscerne la storia. Poi
Interesting but in an artistic way, not in a way the average persion can relate to on a daily level.
It is a verbal equivalent of a Merchant Ivory film. You can admire it on a technical level, and even enjoy it, but it's not going to be one of your favourite all time movies.
It's kind of like poetry in the way it decribes colours and smells and sensations. The characters are both self-absorbed in their own differing ways and are obviously doomed from the beginning.
Lovely book. Hong Ying writes with a clear elegant style. The bedroom scenes - in Minnesota we'd call them "interesting". I felt like something was missing however and I can't put my finger on it.
Jorge Rueda
K: El arte del amor, como novela romántica conjuga la trama con la carga erótica de manera precisa, en ese sentido pudiera ser ejemplo de lo que Berlanga y De Moura refieren como la inclusión del erotismo en otros géneros literarios. El componente sensual no es sólo la relación carnal entre sus personajes, sino el encuentro de distintos acercamientos al sexo y deviene en parte fundamental de los entreveros de la novela.

Resulta singular que esta novela escrita por una mujer china narre a través d
Vanessa Wu
I like this book. I am very interested in the real-life people and events in both the Chinese and the English segments of the literary circle.

However, this novel doesn't quite fulfil it's promise. Sometimes its simple sentences work. Sometimes they seem stilted. They aren't charged with emotion. They don't vibrate with life. They stay on the paper.

There are erotic passages and explicitly sexual passages. These I found interesting. The other interactions with the characters were less so. I think
Michael Graeme
I enjoyed the story - not a long book - finished it in a couple of days. Fascinating insights into the so called Bloomsbury set - cast as a bunch of outrageous libertines. Contrary to some comments here, I thought the characters were efficiently drawn and I found myself fascinated by them. In the end the main character, Julian Bell, turned out to be quite heartless, but I think that was simply his nature, his upbringing, and his so called "class". And I hated him for it. As a guy I was more draw ...more
Charlotte (Buried in Books)
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nele Fraeyman
Even "50 shades of grey" was more interesting than this...
Natasa Tovornik
Another journey to China. I liked the characters trying to balance between freedom and love. I thought the portraits and internal dialogues were described really well and also otherwise the book is written in a style that is read easily. Quite an enjoyment and another layer of the China mystery is lifted, many many more remaining...
beautiful writing, even though I was disappointed that they were not destined to stay together, and after all that love he suddenly despises himself because he realizes he actually is a rascist? its just kind of strange, I was hoping for something different romantic that I am
Not your average starcrossed lovers story, it´s filled with magic and lots of passion. With that said, a review of the book is unnecesary.

Read it, passion is more and more scarce this days.
Long on unremarkable sex scenes and very short on character development. The main character is a shallow, racist asshole and we're given almost nothing about his lover. Pretty dull stuff.
I like this book. I am very interested in the real-life people and events in both the Chinese and the English segments of the literary circle.

Its was very sensual. And i read it twice .
One thing I liked about this book was the rendering of Julian Bell's British worldview and how it was shaped, almost right up until the end, by a colonial mentality.
Just kinda weird. I could see the potential, but it didn't really deliver.
I wish there were promising works from China.
Lisa marked it as to-read
Dec 14, 2014
Karmen is currently reading it
Dec 09, 2014
Erin marked it as to-read
Nov 29, 2014
Rahela marked it as to-read
Nov 25, 2014
Joanna Baker
Joanna Baker marked it as to-read
Nov 21, 2014
Tori added it
Nov 20, 2014
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 12 13 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Courtesan and the Samurai
  • The Lost Daughter of Happiness: A Novel
  • Dream of the Walled City
  • Marrying Buddha. Wei Hui
  • UFO in Her Eyes
  • Ocean of Words: Stories
  • Please Don't Call Me Human
  • The Republic of Wine
  • Burying the Shadow
  • Under Fishbone Clouds
  • Vertical Motion
  • The Corpse Walker: Real Life Stories, China from the Bottom Up
  • The Real Story of Ah-Q and Other Tales of China: The Complete Fiction of Lu Xun
  • Love in a Fallen City
  • Memories of a Pure Spring
  • Raise the Red Lantern: Three Novellas
  • John Thomas and Lady Jane: The Second Version of Lady Chatterley's Lover
  • Chronicle of a Blood Merchant
Hong Ying was born in Chongqing in 1962, towards the end of the Great Leap Forward. She began to write at eighteen, leaving home shortly afterwards to spend the next ten years moving around China, exploring her voice as a writer via poems and short stories. After brief periods of study at the Lu Xun Academy in Beijing and Shanghai’s Fudan University, Hong Ying moved to London in 1991 where she as ...more
More about Hong Ying...
Daughter of the River: An Autobiography The Concubine of Shanghai Summer of Betrayal: A Novel Peacock Cries Hyvien kukkien lapset

Share This Book