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My Favourite Wife

3.23 of 5 stars 3.23  ·  rating details  ·  1,077 ratings  ·  86 reviews
into the booming gold rush city of Shanghai fly Bill and Becca Holden with their small daughter. Their new home is Paradise Mansions - a luxurious apartment block full of 'second wives'. When Becca goes home, a friendship between a lonely family man and a neglected mistress grows into something more - sonething that threatens to destroy all their lives. And when Becca come ...more
Hardcover, 374 pages
Published 2008 by Harper Collins (first published February 18th 2007)
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341st out of 627 books — 686 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,626)
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Ian Mapp
Parsons by numbers. How many times have we seen this - married man in crisis, child in tow, chinese angle, working class roots and disapproving father. Its fucking lazy writing it is - look at faulks, tc byle, william boyd, ian mcewan, iain banks etc. They all vary it.

However, for 2/3rds of the book this works well. the political, social and worldwide consequences of new china are very well written - informative and entertaining. Not sure if was just cause Ellie had been there.

A working class bo
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Nicola
It's an interesting story, from the point of view of a man in love with two women; but I found it impossible to feel any kind of sympathy towards him in his predicament of having to choose between the two. The descriptions of China and Shanghai sound realistic (though I've never been, so don't know for sure); and it does make you think about the price people pay for the 'next big thing'. All in all though, not one I'd choose to read again - not bad, but not that great either.
Jane
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Leanne
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Catherine Gordon
Oct 16, 2011 Catherine Gordon rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommended to Catherine by: Joan Gordon
Interesting enough read. The culture shock of moving and working in a new city, the strained relationships between husband and wife as he works long hours to fulfill the "dream" that she wants but at the expense of family. Then when his family leaves how he turns into a cliche, or is it a cliche? The characters are well written and sympathetic, you can see each person's perspective and how none of them are "bad people" but that someone has to get hurt if not everyone in this situation. It also t ...more
Judy
Nov 30, 2008 Judy rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: adults
Recommended to Judy by: I bought it in a store display in Hong Kong airport
I thoroughly enjoyed this story, set in modern day Shanghai and some of the other parts of China. It does a good job of showing the ambivalence it is easy to feel as a Westerner in China; there is so much happening to modernize the country and raise the standard of living, and yet there are 500 million people there not being helped at all and often being hurt (by pollution, by seizure of their ancestral property for commercial uses, by employment conditions in sweat shops, etc.) Individuals stil ...more
Marilyn
I totally enjoyed the depiction of Shanghai as the modern world's "gold rush city". The contrasts between the rich and poor and the East and West seem very representative of what I've learned personally whilst living with many Asian & more specifically some Chinese folks. It is interesting yet not surprising to see what the human psyche will do to survive and how one's soul can be overlooked and mitigated when simply in "survival" mode. Although we might think that the feudal ways like the c ...more
Stephanie
very interesting and complicated social commentary on the economic state of China. My biggest issue with the novel was the wife's character... it's supposedly Parson's strongest woman character but I found the fact that she gave up her career as a financial journalist because her daughter got asthma a little unbelievable. but I liked his depiction of the expat world of China, and the 'concubines' of China. that was definitely a believable setting though the things that happen to them are a littl ...more
Msdot
Very frustrating story about a 'good' husband who fell in love with another woman, a wife who persevered, a mistress who was obviously be with this husband for monetary gain. But everything was alot more complicated than it really was.
Mary
As with other Tony Parsons books I did enjoy reading this one. A nice change not to be based in the UK or US. Maybe the characters didn't behave quite as one would expect but I'm still left wondering what happened next.....
Feitha Iriani
The story disgusted me at first, it told about an affair of a good husband because he was lonely. But in the end it taught us about forgiveness and about what matters most in your life. It is beatifully written.
Michelle
This was just a poorly written book. Bad story, bad writing, bad foreshadowing, bad.
Laura
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
LindyLouMac
A male writer of chick flicks for men is how I have seen Tony Parsons described, I prefer to think of him as a male writer of Contemporary Fiction which can be enjoyed by both male and female readers. I happen to enjoy his take on relationships and have read four other novels of his, although this is the first time I have reviewed one here. It is unusual to read novels about such emotional issues as families and parenthood that are written by men and this author does it well. This is may not be ...more
Paulina
I have mixed feelings after reading this book. It showed me a bit of the perspective of the Chinese women in hard financial situation. Some part of humanity in different realities in different part of the world. I wouldn't recommend though and it was quite boring in the end I caught myself on skipping long descriptions and unwanted and uninteresting parts of the plot.
Elaine
Literature it is not. Cliches romp, characters act in cardboard wooden ways, and yet, there are glimpses of real observation nestled within these pages. It's contemporary Shanghai, and from the first page, Tony Parsons manages to paint for us his curiosity about this modern spangling city reputed to be Paris-of-the-Orient. The tale itself is a well-trodden plot -- the male protagonist who finds himself chasing adulterous dreams involving a Chinese beauty -- oh, the forever mysterious lure of the ...more
Emma
I have really enjoyed other of his books, but found this one had no soul. I don't believe his wife would have forgiven him
So easily just didn't seem credible . I felt all the characters were very one dimensional and the book just had no heart to it . Felt like he wrote it with no passion.
Lisa Humphries
An interesting but somewhat tiresome story, however the economic context of modern Shanghai is informative. Ultimately a frustrating and depressing read.
Scherry Siganporia
Readers!!

This book is not just a book, its a journey into Infidelity, Asian culture, a man torn by what is right and wrong, a love story. I highly recommend it. It also leaves you gasping for more... It leaves you sad, happy, loved and wiser...

A beautifully scripted story. Also humorous in some parts. I loved the whole Shanghai backdrop to the story. Should be made into a movie!! Will be beautiful to also watch this in action! Although Ive seen every sentence in action already!

Grab it, read it
...more
Inga
It was my first Tony Parsons book to read, so I had no expectations towards the writer or the book.
It was smoothly written and I liked the way he described the modern Shanghai. This part of the book I found fascinating.
The twisted love story was in my opinion little weak and stayed for me for several reasons not understandable. After I finished the book, I was wondering: Why do people make their own lives so much more complicated than needed? Both Bill and Becca were in my opinion weak character
...more
Sammi
I don't know what words would best fit how I feel about this book, apart from 'messed up' and 'bittersweet'.

I both hated, and felt for the protaganist, Bill. And my heart ached both for Becca and Holly, and poor JinJin.

Ugh. The story was good, and well written but so.. Horrible and wonderful at the same time. It was sad.

I only gave this book 3 stars because even though I enjoyed reading it, it wasn't one I felt compelled to keep reading. Though I do keep wondering what happened in their lives a
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MNLO
May 28, 2015 MNLO rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommended to MNLO by: redhairblood@yahoo.com
Worth it because of the world it shows, not of the characters.
Sue Hopkins
The plot was predictable, no real meat to the story.
Amandalily
I feel so frustrated while reading this.
Vicky
Somehow I expected much more from this book. I was very impressed by the description of modern China, by the honesty that the author talked of many ills and problems of the modern Chinese society. But the book became too sentimental and melodramatic to be taken seriously at the end. The man had an affair; he is torn between two women. We suppose to fill sorry for this good guy, but his turmoil and dramas did not sound very truthful. The book had to concentrate more on the complexity of new China ...more
Marcia
How wonderful to read a Tony Parsons again. I always forget how talented he is at character development (which I personally believe is one of the key factors of a good novel).

Loved the setting of Shanghai compared to his usual UK.
Louise Brummer
Ok read not my "favourite" but enjoyed.
Karen Young
Enjoyable but annoying that his young daughter's vocabulary seemed too mature for her age.
Sam
Mar 24, 2014 Sam rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: fiction
Tired format.
Unwisely
Umm. So. This was...a book. Fiction, non-genre. And, well, stuff happened.

The background was the rapid industrialization of Shanghai and the choices it forced on people, and that was kind of cool, but...like? It's just .... things that probably really happen. No space, werewolves, or vampires, so, why?

Despite my utter meh about the entire plot/characters, it was *extremely* readable - I think I read it in 4 days, and I didn't particularly have to force myself to keep going. So that's nice.
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Shanghai 1 13 Mar 17, 2009 09:13PM  
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There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

Tony Parsons (born 6 November 1953) is a British journalist broadcaster and author. He began his career as a music journalist on the NME, writing about punk music. Later, he wrote for The Daily Telegraph, before going on to write his current column for the Daily Mirror. Parsons was for a time a regular guest on the BBC Two arts
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More about Tony Parsons...
Man and Boy (Harry Silver, #1) Man and Wife (Harry Silver, #2) One for My Baby The Family Way The Murder Bag (Max Wolfe, #1)

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“Don't you see?" he said. "This could go on for another five years, another ten years, and then where would we be? You want to grow old waiting for something that's never going to happen? Is that what you want?” 2 likes
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