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The Girl Who Played Go

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  3,820 ratings  ·  387 reviews
As the Japanese military invades 1930s Manchuria, a young girl approaches her own sexual coming of age. Drawn into a complex triangle with two boys, she distracts herself from the onslaught of adulthood by playing the game of go with strangers in a public square--and yet the force of desire, like the occupation, proves inevitable. Unbeknownst to the girl who plays go, her ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published October 12th 2004 by Vintage (first published 2001)
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Nov 01, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who like tragic love stories and don't play board games
If you're familiar with Kawabata's The Master of Go, it's impossible to read Shan Sa's book without thinking about it on every page. Kawabata, in subtle, elliptical prose, describes a real Go match which he covered as a young reporter working for a Japanese newspaper. He reorganized his match reports as a novel, where the symbolic aspects of the game gradually come to the fore; the Master represents the old Japan, his brash young challenger the new Western culture that was destroying its soul. T ...more
Chim Cụt
Feb 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Bốn trang cuối!

Cảm xúc của tôi loay hoay trong chốn chật chội này. Nó không tìm thấy ngôn từ đẹp đẽ để đặt tên. Nó không tìm thấy ánh sáng của lối thoát. Nó cứ quanh quẩn bên anh sĩ quan Nhật và cô gái Trung Hoa của anh.

Ngay cả khi đã chuyển sang đọc một quyển sách khác, nó vẫn ở đó như âm hồn bất tán, níu kéo tôi đọc lại rồi đọc lại.

Nó đã đợi được anh và cô gặp nhau. Nó đã thấy anh cất giấu đôi mắt yêu thương ra sao cũng thấy cô nhận ra tình yêu muộn m
Jun 02, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
SPOILER ALERT (cho những ai có ý định đọc quyển này)
"Anh sẽ giết em và anh sẽ chết theo em. Vì em anh sẽ từ bỏ cuộc chiến này, anh sẽ phản bội Tổ quốc anh."
"- Em đừng sợ, anh sẽ theo em. Anh sẽ bảo vệ em trong thế giới bên kia.
Em mở mắt nhìn tôi đăm đăm:
- Tên em là ...
Nhưng tôi đã bóp cò."
"Tôi biết rằng chúng tôi sẽ chơi tiếp ván cờ ở nơi xa kia."
Chẳng biết có quá đáng không nếu nói chương cuối cùng là chương hay nhất của truyện, hay phải gọi là chương duy nhất mình thấy hay của truyện. C
May 10, 2018 rated it it was ok
Ughhhhhhhhhhh this bleeegh i mean this book. Ugh
Hải Yến
Trời ơi, những trang cuối cùng của câu truyện, nó thật đẹp!! Tôi rất muốn hét lên vào lúc này. Đẹp nhưng buồn!

Tôi thích nhân vật người lính Nhật, anh yêu cô qua những ván cờ. Anh yêu một cô gái Trung Hoa thậm chí còn chẳng biết anh là ai và cô ấy là ai?
Nhưng một chút thất vọng đã len lỏi vào trong câu truyện sau những review tôi đã đọc về câu truyện này. Tôi cứ tưởng đó là quãng thời gian dài và tuyệt vời. Điều đó chỉ đúng với người lính Nhật, còn cô gái Trung Hoa thì tôi chỉ cảm nhận được rất í
Sep 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I want to inhabit a world built of Shan Sa’s dreamy metaphors—A woman is bathing in thermal springs, her body glistening under the water where it writhes and twists like a slender leaf, or The moon looks like a line of chalk drawn on the sky. Even her name (a pen name) has the alluring meaning: rustle of the wind in the mountains.

The author, born in Beijing, began writing poetry at age 6 and received her first national poetry award at 12. In her 20s she moved to Paris to study philosophy and app
May 05, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I can't imagine this book being as good as it was if I wasn't a go fan. (Which you can play right here or here.

Many of the axioms of Go were brought out in the book - life imitates Go, Go imitates life being the key one.

Others include - your enemies move is your move; keep both alive, for if one dies, neither are any good; a captured territory switches sides... etc...

The book also makes reference to many of the etiquette aspects of the game, such as placing a starting stone next to an opponents
Sarah Sammis
Jun 08, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: released
The Girl Who Played Go by Shan Sa has a story laid out like a game of go. Each chapter is like a new move. Song of the Night, a young Manchurian girl plays the black side while the Japanese soldier takes the white. Anyone familiar with the game or with the history of Japan's invasion of China will know that this book won't be a happy one.

As with a game of go, the two characters don't meet or interact until half way through the book (page 127). As pieces are laid at opposite corners the soldier a
Book Concierge
In a small town in Manchuria in the 1930s, a 16-year-old girl is more concerned with her daily game of go and her fledgling romantic relationship with a dissident student, than she is with the potential for war with Japan. She is a master at the game, surprising for one so young (and a girl, no less). One day a stranger challenges her. Their game continues for days; they rarely speak, never introduce themselves, and she does not know that he is a Japanese soldier in disguise.

The novel is told i
This is a tragic love story that ends brutally. Shan Sa's novel doesn't seem to have lost much in the translation from French to English; the voices of the two protagonists are beautifully rendered, one male and one female. I was a little dubious about a female literary romance author writing a male character from a first person POV, but the Japanese soldier is believable, flawed and a little vulnerable but still mostly full of sex and violence. Still, it's the Chinese girl who really comes aliv ...more
When I think of the work of Shan Sa's I previously read, Empress, I remember fragments of a voracious dream, the sort of imaginings where the lust for what is already achieved is never sated, and visions of immortality and impregnable fates can never be afforded by mortal means. This was a woman's story I much enjoyed with its sinking into history and pleasing, translated turns of phrase, so when I came across Sa's higher rated work, I couldn't resist. I can see why this work more favorable made ...more
Jul 23, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: chine, fiction
Un roman entier à l'indicatif, pratiquement sans aucune subordonnée, ni presque aucun adjectif! Si pour les uns, l'abondance et la variété de l'expression sont autant de signes de richesse et de plaisirs, pour d'autres, une expression serrée et économe sont peut-être des marques d'élégance et de précision. Passé ce premier choc, le lecteur découvre deux narrateurs auxquels la parole est donnée alternativement au fil des chapitres: un gredin cruel et sensuel, hantant gourgandines et catins, perdu ...more
Mark Drew
Feb 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is a tale told in dream like prose. Life, love, betrayal and death all float by in short lyrical chapters that seem to be recalled from the dreamer's memory.

The story itself, while being compelling, isn't one that you haven't read before. If you have ever watched any old black and white movie from the 1940s, you know the ultimate ending from page one; but that isn't the point, the telling of the tale, like the game of the title, is about construction and the patterns made - life and ar
Duy Nguyen
Feb 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Một cuốn sách đọc xong không thể ngừng nghĩ về nó.
Tình yêu xóa nhòa mọi khoảng cách: chiến tranh, giai cấp, xung đột dân tộc.
Tình yêu làm cho cái chết trở nên nhẹ tựa lông hồng.
Khoảng một nửa cuốn sách ban đầu đọc có vẻ hơi sốt ruột, vì mãi mà anh chàng và cô gái chính trong truyện không gặp nhau, thử hỏi chỉ với nửa cuốn còn lại, chuyện tình của họ làm sao có thể tiến triển nhanh như vậy chỉ sau vài ván cờ vây ? Nhưng càng đọc càng thấy tuyệt, càng đọc càng thấy buồn não ruột. Chương cuối của
Minh Thu
Apr 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
đoan kêt cua cuôn sach kha am anh ngươi đoc, nhưng sau tât csr nhưng gi đa đoc, đa biêt tư trang đâu cuôn sach, cai kêt nay la điêu hơp ly ma thôi ...more
Feb 18, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2010-books
I wanted to like this book--the setting, the characters, and the dual narrators all drew me in. But while several images still stay with me (the girl and the soldier playing Go, the revolutionaries the girl meets up with and romances, the soldier disguising himself and sneaking into town), overall the novel didn't resonate with me. The writing was strong, but limiting--the spare prose actually made the situation carry less weight, and caused the narrators to blend together into one voice (I boug ...more
Jul 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This was an absolutely riveting book. The setting is Manchuria 1931, the time when Japan was just beginning to apply military aggression to this area in Northeast China and just prior to Japan's overtaking of Peking. The 2 main characters are a 16-year old Machurian girl who is strong-willed and free-spirited and excels at the strategy-based game of go, and a Japanese soldier who plays go against this girl while in disguise as a Chinese citizen. It is a sexual coming of age tale as well as an un ...more
Nhu Khue
Dec 17, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, french
Đoạn cuối câu chuyện rất mang tính phá hủy, tưởng như tác giả chứ không phải nhân vật chấp nhận buông xuôi, tưởng như tác giả chứ không phải nhân vật mới là người đã nói câu "tôi không còn thời gian để...". Tôi không biết tác giả đang chạy theo cái gì khi dội một cái kết bất thình lình về phía người đọc cứ như là muốn tuyên bố: Kết cục như thế này là vì yêu đấy, không thể khác được. Nếu tác giả viết nhiều hơn và không chặn trước mọi thắc mắc của người đọc bằng một kết cục như vậy, tôi sẽ biết đâ ...more
Nov 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
2/3 cuốn sách là một thước phim xoay quanh cuộc đời của anh lính Nhật và cô thiếu nữ Mãn Châu. Từ quá khứ của họ cho tới lúc gặp nhau trên bàn cờ vây, cả hai đều đã bị đối phương thu hút.

Anh lính Nhật chán ghét chiến tranh, cô thiếu nữ Mãn Châu với những suy nghĩ về tình yêu và trinh tiết; họ đã gặp nhau trên bàn cờ vây. Tất cả mọi thứ như gác lại để họ được chìm đắm vào từng nước cờ tỉ mỉ mà hư ảo.

Chỉ tiếc rằng họ không thể gặp nhau sớm hơn, trong một khung cảnh yên bình, hoặc nếu có thể, thời
Kim  Ngan
Oct 08, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
cái kết làm mình buồn điên đảo.
đọc xong trong đầu chỉ có một câu: F*** WAR!!!
Lyubina Yordanova
„Момичето, което играеше Го” е първата издадена на български книга на талантливата писателка Сан Ша. Действието се развива през 30-те години на XX в. в Манджурия, където два враждуващи свята се срещат в игра на „Го“. Игра, която с всеки преместен пул прераства в любов....

Героите са двама – момиче, което тепърва започва да открива себе си, любовта и живота, и мъж – воин, обрекъл се на честа и оръжието...

Самият роман е като партия „Го“. Всяка глава е камъче върху историята на двамата герои – черно
Aug 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
The game of Go has long intrigued me. I learned how to play years ago from a wizard who lived down the stairs. We wiled away the hours playing the game of Go. I moved away and never played again until recently. I took it up once again and discovered it had never really left me. I became reacquainted with Go because of a novel written by a young Chinese girl that sparked my interest all over again.
When The Girl who Played Go first came out in 2003, I read a review about the book and was intrigued
Anna Wiggins
Jan 26, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
This book was a delightful surprise for me. It is outside of the normal range of genres I read (I tend toward speculative fiction, and this is solidly a historical fiction), and I picked it up based entirely on an Amazon recommendation. I'm an avid (but weak) Go player, so the title and the summary intrigued me.

I expected a straightforward novel, probably a love story, that featured Go as a plot element. I didn't bargain for a poetic book that weaved the concept and philosophy of a game of Go in
Set in 1930s Manchuria propped up by the Japanese, The Girl who Played Go is a work of historical fiction set in a time with lots of dramatic potential. Unfortunately, Beijing-born writer Shan Sa failed to make the historical moment come alive in this sparse, austere tale of love and war. Originally written in French, the story is told in short, alternating chapters by two unnamed first-person narrators: the first is the title character, a teenager from an educated family on the cusp of womanhoo ...more
Sophie VERStand
Es hätte ein wunderbarer historischer Roman mit großartiger Liebesgeschichte werden können, wurde aber furchtbar unglaubwürdig durch den unverschämt hohen Anteil von Sex. Und nein - ich spreche nicht von sexueller Interaktion zwischen der chinesischen Go-Spielerin und dem japanischen Spion, denn dazu kommt es einfach nicht. Dafür geht der Japaner regelmäßig in Freudenhäuser und die junge Chinesin schläft mit untreuen Rebellen. Die beiden spielen nur zusammen, schweigen sich an, ergründen während ...more
Mar 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Much like a game of Go, this book is structured as a series of short chapters or turns that alternate between two protagonists. The characters are brought together by Go, yet remain divided by being on opposite sides of the board and their slow series of back and forth moves is suddenly overthrown by a dramatic shift at the end as the structured opposition of Go is replaced by the chaos of war. This book is a light, fast read that gave me the urge to attempt a similar experiment with form and th ...more
Jan 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
Everything opposes them, he is Japanese she is Chinese. He is with the invading army nothing in common, except the Go game board, their mastery their different styles of playing. With each move they discover themselves without hardly ever exchanging any words.
Mar 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Ovo nije osrt. Ovo je preporuka za jednu genijalnu knjigu! Obavezno ju čitajte, ako još niste! ☺
Sophia El Kerdini
Grande amatrice de Go, je ne pouvais pas laisser passer cette lecture ; à ce sujet d'ailleurs, je suis redevenue familière avec le Go grâce à ce roman qui a de nouveau éveillé mon intérêt pour le jeu. Et je n'en suis guère déçue !
Le roman est une fiction historique et l'histoire s'inscrit dans les années 30, époque marquée par la guerre sino-japonaise. Alternant deux voix de narration ; la première celle d'une adolescente chinoise, la joueuse de go en personne, et la seconde celle d'un soldat j
Mar 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love everything about the plot-- family, friendship, love, trust and betrayal. I like that both narrators back and forth telling off their stories and point of view. The moment they crossed their path with the paragraph including both of them together, the silent friendship and love-- it was so lovely. The game of go and a war-- heartbreaking and devastating throughout the middle till the end. Plot structured well and simple but so meaningful. Both narrators narrated the plot beautifully, thei ...more
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Play Book Tag: The Girl Who Played Go / Shan Sa - 4**** 4 19 Nov 23, 2016 01:51PM  
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Shan Sa is a French author born in Beijing in 1972. The Girl Who Played Go was the first of her novels to be published outside of France. It won the Goncourt des Lycéens Prize in 2001 and earned critical acclaim worldwide. Her second novel to appear in English translation is "The Empress" (2006).

Shan Sa was born on October 26, 1972 in Beijing to a scholarly family . Her real name is Yan Ni Ni, the
“Happiness is something you lay siege to, it is a battle like a game of go. I will take hold of all the pain and snuff it out.” 26 likes
“Years have passed and how I am anxiously watching the twilight of my childhood, quietly sinking, never to rise again.” 16 likes
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