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Lust, Caution: The Story

3.63  ·  Rating Details ·  817 Ratings  ·  80 Reviews
Now a major motion picture from Oscar-winning director Ang Lee (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Brokeback Mountain): an intensely passionate story of love and espionage, set in Shanghai during World War II.

In the midst of the Japanese occupation of China and Hong Kong, two lives become intertwined: Wong Chia Chi, a young student active in the resistance, and Mr. Yee, a pow
Paperback, 96 pages
Published September 4th 2007 by Anchor (first published 1978)
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Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
Just one word. Uttered almost in whisper, by a woman. She told her lover: "Run." I paused, staggered, heartbeat quickening as I raced towards the ending. Then I went back to the page where this word was, eleven pages earlier.

""Run,' she said softly."

They are inside a jewelry store. A rich, married, powerful politician working for the Japanese occupying Hongkong during the war and his young, beautiful mistress secretly working for the resistance. They are choosing a diamond ring, his gift to her.
Mar 01, 2016 Hugo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
Uma história interessante de uma jovem Chinesa pertencente a um grupo de estudantes que tem como objectivo assassinar Mr. Yee, um dos apoiantes de Wang Ching-we, aliado dos Japoneses aquando da Segunda Guerra Mundial. Como tem experiência como actriz, disponibiliza-se para encarnar o papel de mulher de um importante homem de negócios capaz de seduzir Mr. Yee a fim lhe montar uma cilada. Foi uma leitura mais exigente do que estava à espera, um livro que atesta a imprevisibilidade das emoções huma ...more
Willem van den Oever
In one word, “dense” is the best way to describe Eileen Chang’s ‘Lust, Caution’. In a 60-paged novella, the storyline weaves in and out of memories, struggling thoughts with identity and the plot of a young woman who has to get close to a, with the Japanese collaborating, politician in order to get him killed by the Chinese resistance of which she is a part in 1940’s Hong Kong and Shanghai.

But even underneath this story, ‘Lust, Caution’ is filled with subliminal explorations and reminiscing. The
Eileen Chang's story is literary and precise; the film has more raw devastating power in some scenes, and fleshes out Mr. Yee's character better, but bloats itself to 2 1/2 hours on less important fare.

---- SPOILER ALERT: ----

If you haven't seen the movie or read the story, you probably don't want to read my review.

The short story better captures the materialistic mood of high society in occupied territories, and gives interesting insights into the characters' thoughts, but the story does not fu
Caro M.
Jul 21, 2013 Caro M. rated it really liked it
Labai patiko ši trumputė, aistrų prisodrinta, bet labai elegantiška apysaka su suspence‘o prieskoniu. Dabar belieka pažiūrėti filmą ir bandyti ieškoti daugiau ponios Chang kūrinių.
Gali pasirodyti juokinga, kiek knygoje pridėta visokių pratarmių bei baigiamųjų žodžių, bet tai yra pliusas. Mums pristato specifinį kūrinio kontekstą ir tokį pat istorinį laikotarpį, nes juos ne dažnas pažįsta, o be jų šią istoriją būtų sudėtinga suprasti.
Oct 18, 2007 Bookshop rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
I 'discovered' the book when researching Ang Lee's then upcoming movie of the same title. It's a short story written by an apparently popular Shanghainese writer, Eileen Chang, about a young girl who sacrifices herself for her country by seducing the enemy and then trapping him to be killed by other team members.

I am no good with short stories as I find them confusing. This one included. Like Brokeback Mountain, Ang Lee created a full-span movie from a thin material. It took me one hour flat to
Jul 01, 2012 Gergely rated it really liked it
Genious composition, something that is really need to be read again and again, with every read exposing more of the intricate details, which there are surely a lot, since this story has been revised for decades by Eileen Chang. It's feels like an unstoppable flow that bring the reader forward, and while glances over a lot of things, it also invites the reader to fill in the blanks - and it's not pretty what kind of imagination the backdrop of the war suggests.
Very powerful writing, deep effect.
May 23, 2011 John rated it really liked it
Shelves: high-drama, romance, asia
A very powerful short story that, despite being the basis for Ang Lee's NC-17 film adaptation, is actually very understated and not the least bit racy. It's beautiful in a depressing kind of way, and manages to accomplish in about thirty-five minutes reading time what Lee's movie version took two-and-a-half hours to do.
Rhiannon Hart
Jul 26, 2016 Rhiannon Hart rated it really liked it
Part of my twentieth-century spies-and-conflict obsession. Beautifully vivid writing and sympathetically drawn characters. I wish it was longer, but we have the Ang Lee adaptation for that. It's rare to find a book shorter than the film. Lovely experience reading/seeing both.
Feb 23, 2010 Crystal rated it really liked it
The story was amazing, but I feel that I missed out on a lot of the beauty of the author's writing due to translation.
Mar 08, 2015 Giedre rated it liked it

What is real? And what is a performance?
Mar 04, 2017 Evelina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Šanghaj a Hong Kong někdy ve čtyřicátých letech. Další kniha ze skvělé edice Xin ve výborném překladu Zuzany Li. Navíc tentokrát povídky, takže něco pro mě (asi nejlepší mi připadala Uzavřená zóna).

Ukázalo se, že Liou-jüanovi jde o duševní přízeň. Proti tomu ona taky nic nenamítá, duševní spříznění končívá zpravidla svatbou, zatímco fyzická láska, ta většinou někde ustrne a šance na vdavky je mizivá. Romantická láska má jen jednu nevýhodu: ženy v průběhu námluv velmi často vůbe
The key word of this collection of Eileen Chang's work is "WOMEN", so all the selected stories here are about Chinese women's life caught between the traditional patriarchal extended family and the gradually modernized society in the early twentieth century. I like Chang's essay "On Women"(谈女人), which serves as the foreword to this book and examines women's relationship with men in a both humorous and serious way. "Sealed Off" (封锁) is definitely one of my all time favorite short stories.
Dec 01, 2016 Ee rated it it was amazing
This is a very short, good story - if you watched the movie it only begins on the actual day of the assassination & with none of the elements that got the movie its R rating. I should read the original Chinese.
Mar 20, 2017 H.K. rated it really liked it
A suspenseful, intriguing novella. Enjoyed it a lot.
Dec 28, 2016 Daisy rated it really liked it
Apr 12, 2013 JoV rated it really liked it
It’s been my wish to read something by Eileen Chang for a long time and the impetus to read Lust, Caution was heightened by the prize winning movie directed by Ang Lee. I read the book, then watched the movie.

Eileen Chang’s novels write about the tensions set between men and women in love. Although set in a period where Shanghai is occupied by Japanese, I like that many of the short stories collection do not have a heavy political agenda about China. It was a welcome stray off the beaten path of
Danish Shabbir
Dec 20, 2016 Danish Shabbir rated it liked it
cute sense of time / lots of glitter
Maria Mefe
In questa edizione, oltre che a Lussuria (1950 - 色戒), ci sono altri due racconti dell'autrice: I fiori di Yin Baoyan (1944 - 殷宝滟送花楼会) e Quanto odio (ca 1947 - 多少恨).

Lussuria è il racconto da cui Ang Lee ha tratto il film Lust Caution nel 2007. È ambientato a Hong Kong, negli anni '40. Racconta di Wang Jiazhi, una giovane donna che aspira a diventare attrice, che insieme ad un gruppo di amici universitari vuole ingannare il signor Yi, un collaborazionista del governo giapponese, e ucciderlo. Ma
Jul 17, 2014 Kimfu rated it liked it
"Lust Caution" was much MUCH better than the previous Chinese book I read, "Chairman Mao Would Not Be Amused." But I still struggle with the understated, totally muted, and indirect writing style of the Chinese. For example, I really wasn't sure that the protagonist had been killed by her lover at the end of the book until the post-novel commentary (which I really appreciated) confirmed that fact for me. This is the first spy thriller novel I've read that actually reads like poetry! I liked the ...more
Dave Yan
Mar 29, 2013 Dave Yan rated it liked it
The story is surprisingly short, which can be finished by a couple of hours. It supports the idea that everyone can write something interesting, not necessarily long to be named "Classic".

I guess the flow of reading it was, in some way, influenced and preoccupied by the movie as I watched it first. Some descriptions of the interior of a building always get me out of joy in reading it. Not too sure if it's because English is not my first language. "The way to a woman's heart is through her vagina
Nov 22, 2014 H3dakota rated it really liked it
I love a story that stays with me long after I've read it. Lust, Caution is one of those stories. I read the short story first, then watched the film. I then re-read the story and browsed through the screenplay.

In my World Lit class, I have been fascinated to read that my fellow students all had different reactions to the story - mostly to the film. I found it mostly shocking that the majority seem to feel that Chia-chih was in love with Mr. Yee. The film takes some liberties with the story, but
Jan 29, 2011 Eileen rated it really liked it
I enjoyed reading this novella/short story. I wished it could have been a little bit longer but the movie satisfied that craving. I think the film adaptation of this intriguing story is one in handful of success stories. If you are looking for an easy yet impacting read this is a good book for you. I finished this book in a couple of hours and watched the film with a friend and I dare say that it was probably one of the best days of that month (dont quite remember which one it was). The story di ...more
Jun 03, 2011 Sophia rated it really liked it
Eileen Chang's short story "Lust, Caution" subtly but brilliantly mixes "big picture" themes (country, revolution, sacrifice) with the personal (love, lust). Wang Chia-chih is a beautiful young woman, planted by an inexperienced student group to seduce Mr. Yee, a powerful figure in the collaborationist government in Japanese-controlled WWII Shanghai. Does she end up falling in love with him? What is real and what is false, and who actually treated her well? These questions call out from Chang's ...more
Oct 15, 2007 Melissa rated it liked it
This is really a short story, packaged on it's own to cross-promote the movie. I'm not much of a short story reader, and this was no exception. The format doesn't give me enough time to invest myself in the characters. I don't believe the idea that Wang Chia-chih realizes she is in love with Mr. Yee, and that is why she tips him off. More likely she is disallusioned by the operation. Does she realize that she will die for it? Eh, maybe it's too deep for me...

It is such a small story, I wonder ho
Dec 18, 2007 Sarah rated it liked it
I admit I picked this up after seeing Ang Lee's film because I was really curious to see what kind of source material he had to work with. It's hard to review the story as it stands on its own only because so much had to be fleshed out to make a film of it that I found myself filling in the gaps with impressions I had from the movie. I suspect that some of the nuances of the relationship are lost in translation - the story is quite short, but supposedly in the original Chinese it contains many l ...more
Dita D'inchiostro
Zhang Ailing possedeva la dote davvero rara (anche tra i migliori narratori), dell'intensità, emotiva e drammatica, del dire abbastanza da aprire in prospettiva un mondo intero attorno ad azioni semplici. Ho divorato il libro senza accorgermi delle pagine, anche se di tanto in tanto ho dovuto sospendere perché, in certi passaggi, c'era una forza tale di emozioni che sembravo sentire tutto in prima persona.

Continua qui ->
Amanda (musicalpoem)
Feb 06, 2012 Amanda (musicalpoem) rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
I absolutely loved this novella. Chang’s masterful writing packs so much emotion and history with surprisingly few pages. Tightly written, Chang masterfully explores the intricacies of relationships. This is perfectly demonstrated as she looks at the different levels that comprises Wong Chia Chi and Mr. Yee’s relationship: power, lust, politics, and intrigue. The overarching themes of the novel (politics, revolution, war) are neatly juxtaposed with that of the smaller ones (love, lust, caution). ...more
May 06, 2011 Sarah rated it liked it
Shelves: everday-fiction
I highly recommend watching the movie before reading the book. I loved the movie & enjoyed the book, but I feel that I would have been lost reading if I didn't already know the basic plot. Since this is a short story it's basically the bare bones of the storyline, while enjoyable there are many holes the reader will wonder about. The movie fills in the holes, so yes the story/book is very good, but watch the movie to get more background first.
Nyie Rombeng
I think everybody must respect to wang jiazhi character.
when china invation by japanese army,jiazhi have not choice,expect become spy besides her fact,she useing her body to manipulate mr.yee(enemy&traitor)only for secret news!
although it means jiazhi feels hurt because sex abusement by mr.yee(love affair,youknow!)
this ending so sad.I feel so sorry for wang jiazhi character.i'm so proud&salute to her.she's WONDER WOMAN!!!
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Eileen Chang is the English name for Chinese author 张爱玲, who was born to a prominent family in Shanghai (one of her great-grandfathers was Li Hongzhang) in 1920.

She went to a prestigious girls' school in Shanghai, where she changed her name from Zhang Ying to Zhang Ailing to match her English name, Eileen. Afterwards, she attended the University of Hong Kong, but had to go back to Shanghai when Ho
More about Eileen Chang...

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