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The year of the Shanghai Shark by Mo Zhi…

The year of the Shanghai Shark

by Mo Zhi Hong

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    The Noodle Maker: A Novel by Ma Jian (avatiakh)
    avatiakh: Recommended by Mo Zhi Hong

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This is about orphaned teen, Hai Long, growing up in Dailin, in north-east China and is set during the year of the SARS epidemic in 2002/03. He lives with his Uncle who is very exact in his style of living. The NBA, fast food, and movies are the new passions for Hai Ling and his friends, while the older generation still seem to be trying to get over the past. What stands out in this book are the memorable characters on the city streets and in his apartment building that Hai Ling befriends when he stops going to school. There's also a fun look at studying for the IELTS English test. Overall I found this a highly enjoyable read that brings the urban life in present day China to life. ( )
  avatiakh | Apr 27, 2010 |
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In the year of the Shanghai Shark my first Uncle was the wisest man I knew.
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Hai Long is a teenager living in the Chinese city of Dalian. It's the year of the SARS epidemic in China. This is a modern China that's eye-catchingly contemporary. Hai Long and his mates drink Coca-Cola and eat American fast food. They watch American NBA basketball on television and argue whether Michael Jordan is the greatest player ever. They go to English language lessons and hilariously mock Karl, their hopelessly naive Canadian teacher, who drinks too much beer and is just dying to get away to Thai beaches to hang out with German babes. This is also the year in which Hai Long leaves school to learn the unlikely trade of his uncle. 'Uncle' has many books, but he's actually a highly successful professional pick-pocket who specialises in robbing dazed foreigners - Koreans and Japanese as well as Europeans - and makes special trips to Beijing for the purpose. As we meet a series of colourful characters in Hai Long's life and hang out with him and his mates, we also watch the teenager being trained in the ways of the pick-pocket. This is a sophisticated story of China's new generation severing ties with their cultural past, and rich with a fascinating array of colourful characters who frequent their inner-city apartment block - from Gambler Dang, a high stakes Ma Jiang player, to Fish, a peasant from the countryside and an unlikely friend, and finally Uncle, whose shadowy occupation exerts an irresistible pull on Hai Long's life...An accessible yet deceptively clever novel from an electric new voice.
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The north-eastern Chinese city of Dalian is home to orphaned teenager Hai Long. In the year of the SARS epidemic, he and his friends live out their urban existence, going to school, navigating the malls and watching American basketball and Michael Jordan. And then there is Uncle, whose shadowy occupation exerts an irresistible pull on Hai Long's life. Suggested level: secondary.… (more)

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