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Shanghai baby

Zhou Weihui

Editeur - Casa editrice


Estremo Oriente

Città - Town - Ville


Anno - Date de Parution


Pagine - Pages


Titolo originale

Shanghai Baobei

Lingua originale


Lingua - language - langue


Edizione - Collana

Scala stranieri


Yuan Huaqing

Shanghai baby Shanghai baby  

Coco, venticinquenne ambiziosa e inquieta, ex giornalista e scrittrice, cameriera in un bar di Shanghai, ama Tiantian, un ragazzo alto e bello, ma impotente e dedito all'eroina. Al tempo stesso ha un sogno: scrivere il romanzo che dovrebbe renderla celebre. Un giorno conosce Mark, un uomo d'affari tedesco, sposato. E non esita a intrecciare con lui una rovente storia di sesso e a tradire Tiantian pur continuando ad amarlo perdutamente, con intensità disperata. Prigioniera di un gioco distruttivo, divisa tra due sentimenti in conflitto, rischia di andare alla deriva, di perdere il controllo sul proprio destino, ma trova nella vita, con le sue esaltazioni e sofferenze, la forza per rimettersi in strada e affermarsi come scrittrice.


Consulta anche: la recensione su Café Letterario

Recensione in altra lingua (Français):

By Weihui Zhou

Madonna grew up in the shanty area of Shanghai's Zhabei District, and wanted to be an artist from when she was young (and as a result took not a few artists as lovers). But at 16 she dropped out. Her father and an older brother were crazy about liquor, and used her for target practice when they were drunk. Her mother was a weak-willed woman who couldn't protect her daughter.

One day she boarded a train bound for Guangzhou. She didn't have much choice. She began working as a bar girl, accompanying guests as they drank. Cities in the south at that time were in the midst of a wave of unprecedented growth. Many had money, and some of them had so much money that it left you speechless. Even her smallest movements expressed a sense of refinement that women from other provinces just didn't have. The clientele liked her, flattered her and were willing to do things for her. Her standing in that circle rose quickly, and in no time she had begun to recruit girls and run her own business.

They called her "Yang Nan-Nan," a pet name Shanghainese give to girls who are fair-skinned and pretty. She wore long black dresses with fine shoulder-straps and diamond rings from her admirers. With her black hair lying against her pale white face, she looked like a queen who dwelled within a secluded, innermost palace, behind layer upon layer of thick curtains.

"When I recall scenes from that period, it really seems like a former incarnation. A simple title captures it: 'Beauty and the Beasts.' I did master the principles of how to domesticate a man. Maybe when I get old I'll write a book just for women, instructing them how to accurately control a man's mind. When you want to kill a snake you have to strike it squarely on the heart. Men also have pressure points where they are weakest. Young women nowadays may mature earlier, and they are tougher and braver than we were, but women still get the short end of the stick in many ways."

She adjusted her pillow, looked over and said: "Don't you agree?"

"When you get down to it, the social system still devalues the needs of women and frowns upon their efforts to clearly recognize their own worth," I said. "Girls who are more street-smart are put down as 'crude,' and those who are more gentle are treated as 'empty-headed' flower vases."

"Anyway, girls have to improve their brainpower. Being a bit smarter doesn't hurt." Madonna paused, asking me if I agreed. I said I did, even though I wouldn't praise myself as being a women's lib warrior, but what she said rang true. Her words helped me to discover that there was a hidden place in her mind which housed deeper thoughts.

"So how did you get married to ... your deceased husband?" I asked.

"Something happened which taught me that in that world, no matter how much influence I might have acquired through my relationships, I was really just a pretty flower who could easily shrivel and die. At the time I particularly liked a girl from Chengdu. She had studied management at Sichuan University, read widely and could discuss things like art with me.

"The girl didn't have anywhere to live, so I took her in to share a flat with me. One evening three fierce-looking guys came looking for her. It turned out they were from the same hometown in Sichuan, and they had pooled cash and given it to her so she could come to Guangzhou and invest in futures. But literally overnight she lost 100,000 renminbi. Having lost all her capital, the girl was penniless and had no choice but to work as a bar girl. But she avoided contact with other Sichuanese and didn't inform the investors of her failure. In the end, these guys came looking for her with their knives concealed.

"I was in the bathroom taking a shower when they came, and when they discovered me, they took me along too. It was a terrifying situation. My room was turned upside down, and my jewelry and 30,000 renminbi were stolen. I explained that all of this had nothing to do with me, and they should let me go. They just shoved cloth into my mouth. I thought they intended to sell me and her to slave traders in Thailand or Malaysia."

Her cold, clammy hands clung to mine. As she told her story, her fingers trembled. "So you chose to get married?" I asked.

"Yeah, to get out of the business," said Madonna. "At the time there was an old codger—a multimillionaire in real estate—who wanted to take me as his wife. In the end, I overcame my repugnance at the thought of sleeping with a wrinkled mummy and married him. I guessed he wouldn't live long, and my instinct was proven right. Now I have money and freedom, and I'm luckier than most women. Even though I'm bored silly, I'm still better off than your typical laid-off garment worker."

Recensione in lingua italiana

Le prime righe


Dora Says: "Have children".
Mama and Betsy say: "Find yourself a charity,
help the needy and the crippled
or put some time into Ecology".
Well, there's wide wide world of noble causes
and lovely landscapes to discover,
but all I really want to do right now
is find another lover!

Joni Mitchell, Canzone per Sharon

Il mio nome è Ni Ke, ma gli amici mi chiamano Coco. Che coincidenza! Anche il mio idolo si chiama Coco (Chanel di cognome): è una signora francese conosciuta in tutto il mondo, morta all'età di novant'anni. Nel mio cuore lei è seconda solo a Henry Miller.
Ogni mattina, quando apro gli occhi, penso subito che dovrei fare qualcosa di straordinario, per attirare l'attenzione della gente. Desidero compiere una metamorfosi, trasformarmi un giorno o l'altro in uno sfavillante fuoco d'artificio che si lancia fragorosamente in alto, al di sopra della città: è la ragione della mia esistenza.
Questo stato d'animo in gran parte si spiega col fatto che vivo a Shanghai, avvolta sempre da uno smog asfissiante e immersa in pettegolezzi perpetui e opprimenti. Ho ereditato anche il senso di superiorità di essere shanghaiese, un'attitudine, nata all'epoca coloniale quando Shanghai era divisa in varie concessioni sotto la giurisdizione delle potenze occidentali, che mi stimola, mi eccita, penetra nel mio cuore sensibile e presuntuoso, e suscita in me, che sono una giovane donna, amore e odio.
Ho appena compiuto venticinque anni. Un anno fa ho pubblicato un volume di racconti, che non mi ha fatto guadagnare molti soldi ma mi ha reso molto famosa (ho ricevuto dai lettori di sesso maschile molte lettere d'amore, corredate quasi tutte di fotografie porno). Tre mesi fa ho dato le dimissioni dalla rivista dove lavoravo come giornalista, e ho trovato subito un altro lavoro come cameriera presso il Lotti's Bar, dove la divisa consisteva in una minigonna che metteva in mostra le mie bellissime gambe per la felicità dei clienti.


Zhou Weihui

Zhou Weihui, ventisette anni, si è laureata in letteratura nella prestigiosa università di Fudan a Shanghai e ha lavorato come giornalista, redattrice, speaker, barista, percussionista, grafica pubblicitaria, regista, attrice e drammaturga. Ha pubblicato quattro romanzi prima di Shanghai Baby. Nonostante la censura governativa, è oggi la più popolare scrittrice cinese

Consulta anche: la recensione su Café Letterario