Shanghai Baby
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Shanghai Baby

3.2 of 5 stars 3.20  ·  rating details  ·  2,794 ratings  ·  232 reviews
The gap that divides those of us born in the 1970s and the older generation has never been so wide.
Dark and edgy, deliciously naughty, an intoxicating cocktail of sex and the search for love, Shanghai Baby has already risen to cult status in mainland China. The risque contents of the breakthrough novel by hip new author Wei Hui have so alarmed Beijing authorities that th...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published August 1st 2002 by Washington Square Press (first published 1999)
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I found this book on a sale and it kindled my interest because i had heard about the scandal and the banning it had been involved in in china - well, it's very explicit about sex, but doesn't break any real taboos in the western world. Ok, there's sex with an impotent man, there's sex with a German with an OOOOOOO SOOOOOOO HUUUUUUUUUGE penis, there's no sex with a vibrator and there's a little bit of flirting with other women. the only thing which really made me swallow (in an unpleasant way) wa...more
The Writer
A lot of my Chinese friends encourage me to read this book, not because they think it's cool or that it's fantastic, but because the main character is a Shanghainese girl.

Well, duh, you can read the title, right?

It turned out, my Chinese friends - who are not from Shanghai - begged me to read this book to prove their points that Shanghai girls are *cough* a bit unruly on the sex and wild side. They have this prejudice that Shanghai girls are only after white guys and that they would do anything...more
Caleb Liu
Privileged Shanghai twenty-something nicknamed Coco (after Coco Chanel) loves her artist but impotent boyfriend but engages in torrid affair with married German expat businessman.

Wei Hui's attempts to contrast hedonism and the search for authenticity within the lens of the post Deng Xiaopeng China and such weightier themes (East vs West, capitalism vs imperialism) doesn't work.

This is more Cosmo that Keroac, more gossip column than Henry Miller. Notably only for its overblown sex scenes leading...more
Whoever thought buying this would be the right choice?

I walked into the bookstore, undecided, on whether to buy something, but insisted on looking for one anyway. Walked past a few aisles, looked past the many copies of books which are currently dominating the prevailing current of thought, and grabbed this one copy of a book so unnoticeable. Had second thoughts on buying it, finally grabbed it.. and left it on the counter. I was sure minutes after then that I should have bought it and promised...more
Much of the praise this novel got is undeserved. Its raise to popularity has to do ( I strongly believe) mainly with the fact that it was banned by the Chinese government. I actually agree with what the Chinese government had to say about it, how it was an imitation of the west or something like that.

The protagonist is this Shanghai girl nicknamed Coco whose idol is Coco Chanel. You could say that the two have something in common--- While Coco Chanel was famous for her relationship with a Nazi o...more
why is this book so hated? 3.21 according to GR statistics makes it one of the most despised books on the website...

Shanghai Baby was famously banned in China, and although failing to reach any huge level of greatness, clearly illustrates the character's self-centred after-every-expat nature. but this seems to be Shanghai in general. a complete destruction of this city would not turn it into Jerusalem. to some degree, criticism of the book is deserved in that it reflects the sort of "worst stere...more
Odai Alsaeed
أعتقد أن اشكالية المكان تتلاشي تدريجيا بفعل عامل التكنولوجيا وثورة الاتصالات ومع إبداع الكاتبة أحسست أنني في قلب أحداثها أتخاطب مع أبطالها وأتفاعل معهم...سرد بسيط مؤثر فعال وقيم... كما أن الترجمة كانت موفقة بشكل كبير أضفت على الرواية متعة وابداع ......رواية جميلة تستحق القراءة
I bought this book because of the controversy and upon reading it I understand why this book caused such a stir in China that drove them to burn the copies. Personally I found the topic quite ordinary, drug addiction and female sexuality is something that an army of Indonesian young writers love to discuss since the fall of New Order era. But given the fact that this is a book from a young woman in a country as repressed as China, I gotta give it some credit. The author was very brave. She spoke...more
Nikki (or Coco) is a writer in China which was not popular enough. She is a tough woman who lives on her own. She had a boyfriend named Tian Tian and she lived together with him. Tian Tian was a nice weak loyal guy who loved painting. They both lived happily although Tian Tian could not give her offspring. He was impotent and Coco explained it really clear that they do not mind with that.

Coco has many great friends beside her. They sometimes asked Coco hang out and spend the night together. Coco...more
Situated by the changing Shanghai, Coco started to write her second novel. Coco was formerly a journalist, but resigned after she launched her first novel.

By encouraging her boy friend, Tian Tian, a painter, Coco felt self confidence to write her novel. Tian Tian saw that Coco was very talented at writing.

This novel also described that Shanghai was a changing city. Where modern met old. And East met West. That's why Shanghai is always interesting city in the world.In the wilderness of Shanghai,...more
Wow! What an utterly uninspired piece of writing. The main character (apparently based on the author) is totally unrelatable and lacks depth. While I believe the character was intended to be this revolutionary and shocking women she came off as a shallow and uncaring character with no redeemable human quality. The writing itself was boring and uninvolved.... A depressing attempt at shock value.
Mirvan  Ereon
Loved it. Slutty and unapologetic the way I like it.
If this had been published here in 2011, not 2001, it would have been called a hipster novel. It's more conventionally written than Taipei or How Should A Person Be? (plus the descriptions often teeter on a subjective line between 'intense melancholy beauty' and 'a bit emo'), but most of the characters are, as in Alt-Lit, well-off urban middle class arty twentysomethings who barely have a thought for anyone and anything outside their own social set. There are even vists to a therapist.

Shanghai Baby is a story about a twenty-something, Shanghainese writer who falls in love with two men: an impotent Chinese and a married German. If it's all about that, I will have abandoned the book after a few chapters. But Wei Hui also paints a picture of 1999, post-colonial Shanghai, maybe not representative of industrial China, but at least enough to satisfy a traveler like me.

The main character is called Coco and she wants to be famous, a characteristic that she attributes to Shanghai's s...more
Wei Hui is Shanghai-ese spoiled spoiled spoiled who can think of nothing better to do, so she decides to become a writer, and because she's a writer, she must be tortured! Oh! It's so hard being her! It's so hard living the life of luxury and not having to care! Don't you feel sorry for her? Because she wants you to.

Also, Wei Hui most pretentious. And her writing, ugh. "A team of Japanese boys on roller skates looked like mounted butterflies as they showed off their techniques... their dyed hair...more
Oct 23, 2011 Melissa rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
I grabbed this book off of a free book exchange shelf thinking it was Shanghai Girls but decided to read it anyway. Big mistake! Granted this book was written in 1999 and was almost banned by the Chinese government because of it's sensuality, it was not worth being printed. This was a very shallow twenty-something version of Sex in the City without the best friends. The only parts that were interesting were brief commentaries on western expats. I found the narrator obsessed with all things weste...more
Non credevo che un libro del genere potesse appassionarmi tanto. In fin dei conti, si tratta del resoconto della vita (movimentata, certo) di una giovane donna cinese dotata di un egocentrismo e una superficialità veramente notevoli. Di più, non c'é un personaggio, tra quelli descritti, che non sia animato da una superficialità marcata e da un certo lassismo nei confronti della vita... Li ho odiati tutti, dal primo all'ultimo, eppure ho trovato" Shanghai Baby" un libro bellissimo, scritto con un...more
I got this because "It was like The Lover", and I liked that book, so "I would like this one, too."

I can't say I really... liked it. I can't say it was just ok either; it's somewhere in between, and to be fair, I never went past half the book.
The part I read wasn't all that bad, but it felt a bit like the author kept trying to sound more than what she could actually be. Like a kid trying to use big words.
I got bored halfway through and decided I better take my time reading about samurai.

It's a...more
Reno (Falling Letters)
I wavered between rating this book two or three stars but in the end I decided I felt more positive about this book than most of the people who gave it two stars, so three it is. I read this book for a university course on Chinese gender and culture. I anticipated a poorly written, vapid, chick-lit type story. While I definitely still consider it a fluff tale now that I've read it, I was surprised to find that there's a lot going on in this book if you're ready to give it a closer thought. My cl...more
Carolyn Heinze
One culture's controversial, censored literature is another culture's bad chick lit, I guess. I understand why this attained cult status in China, but that doesn't take away from it being complete crap. Think Candace Bushnell in Shanghai. Gave it a little over 100 pages and packed it in for something a little more fulfilling.
a lot of unfair negativity about this book. I had never read something like this before and the copious sex scenes were slightly off putting and the main thing stopping me giving it a higher rating. Don't get me wrong, I love sex! But reading about other people doing it is dull.

However, this book is so poetic, it is beautifully written and I love the characterisation, Tian Tian is my favourite character and most of the poetry orbits Coco's lamentations on his being. At points also a very existe...more
No soy muy aficionado a la literatura romántica. Pero me ha gustado. El amor es parte fundamental del libro, pero no se me ha hecho empalagoso. Tiene un lenguaje es realmente poético, da la sensación de que estás flotando en un sueño, entumecido. Evita provocar sensaciones extremas, a pesar de que con lo que pasa podría hacerlo, en pos de una fluidez de sentimientos constante. No es un estilo al que esté acostumbrado y me ha sorprendido.

El personaje principal, Coco, también me ha parecido sorpre...more
Crap. Self-indulgent, narcissistic, unabashedly ignorant, poorly written crap. It's a shame that Chinese literature is being represented by such an atrocious wanna-be.
Casey Roach
When I first started reading this book I didn't know how I would feel about it, but after reading it I have to say I liked it more than I thought I would. Considering the book's narrator and main character (Coco) is the one by in large creating her own problems by having an affair and trying to keep it from her boyfriend Tian Tian. Her relationship with both men isn't your generic romance novel either and there is a real since of development between them, especially with her boyfriend Tian Tian....more
Goodreads doesn't allow for zero star ratings but that is about what this book deserves. It is incredibly narcissistic without any redeeming charm.
Interesting book. Wasn't particularly shocked by any of the content. I liked Nikki AKA Coco, she seemed real with reasonable self absorbed and spoilt characteristics. Tian Tian did my head in, possibly because personally I don't think I could live with his depression, eventual addiction and impotence, and clearly neither could she. It's realistic Coco would seek that pleasure elsewhere, I can't imagine a hot blooded male or female who wouldn't. I think the description of her surroundings and of...more
Miss Moneypenny
La historia cuenta la vida de Mike (apodada Cocó )una escritora licenciada en la Universidad de Fudan que trata de escribir una nueva novela después que consiguiera publicar una serie de cuentos que en su momento no gozaron de mucho éxito.

En su vida aparecen como personajes centrales Tiantian, su novio, su tótem creativo y espiritual un chico sin ningún tipo de aspiración vital mas que pintar por hobby y que vive desahogadamente gracias al dinero que le envia su madre desde España y con un grave...more
Suzanne Bhagan
The title’s not usually what I go for since it sounds like typical chick-lit but I thought I’d have a go. What intrigued me most about it was the fact that it was banned and publicly burned in China because it was thought “decadent” (i.e. raunchy).

So let’s start. Wei Hui’s first novel is largely semi-autobiographical. It’s about Coco trying to write a novel and being torn between two men: a largely virile German (and married) lover and an intensely loving, impotent druggie called Tian Tian.

Tenía curiosidad por esta novela que tan controversial fue en China. No se, quizás mi mente acostumbrada a la literatura moderna no se horroriza facilmente, o tal vez el nivel de aceptación y pensamiento en ese país es bastante conservador. Cuando salió se quemaron publicamente miles de ediciones, pero una vez más, el mercado negro triunfó y ayudó en la difusión.
Shangai Baby no es un libro que leería dos veces, al menos no de momento. Es interesante, está bien escrito y tiene ciertos “raptos” fi...more
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China Book Club: Will the real "Shanghai Girl" please stand up! 1 35 Mar 03, 2012 03:09PM  
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Zhou Weihui (simplified Chinese: 周卫慧; traditional Chinese: 周衛慧) is a Chinese writer, living and working in Shanghai and New York.

Her novel Shanghai Baby (2000) was banned in the People's Republic of China as "decadent". Her latest novel Marrying Buddha (2005) was censored, modified and published in China under a modified title.

Wei Hui has been regarded by international media as a spokeswoman of th...more
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“Kissing with the tip of the tongue is like ice-cream melting. It was he who taught me that a kiss has a soul and colour of its own.” 18 likes
“Her life was like a burst of wild, flowing Chinese calligraphy, written under the influence of alcohol.” 12 likes
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