苏州专业的美甲培训多少钱

苏州培训学校美甲课程一般多少钱

Mixing fact with fable in a tall tale

THE EMPRESS LOVERBy Linda Jaivin. HarperCollins. $29.99.
苏州美甲培训

Somewhat put off by the flakiness of Linda Jaivin’s early novels, I wondered why such a brilliant China scholar would write them – unless she was broke. Then in 2009 she produced an accomplished, well-researched novel of Japan and China in the heyday of G.E. ”Chinese” Morrison, A Most Immoral Woman, without losing any of the fun.

Prodigiously hard-working, Jaivin has won praise for her fact-based books on China’s tumultuous recent past, and this year a Quarterly Essay, Found in Translation, consolidates her reputation. Now, for admirers hungry for another novel, she has served up a steaming feast, with some unexpected taste thrills.

In a hilarious episode Linnie, Jaivin’s persona, overhears a conversation between two Australian women in a sauna, in which every sentence ends with a rising interrogative. Such is its banality that Linnie, who has studied Chinese at ANU with Geremie Barme and Kevin Rudd in the 1970s, decides on the spot to leave Sydney and go back to Beijing. There, freezing in her rented hutong room, Linnie, needing an income but no slouch at procrastination, has 24 hours to subtitle an incomprehensible film and then an enticing rendezvous to keep.

So her story, complete with distractions, flashbacks and yearnings for Q, her faithless lover, takes place in a day and a night, in the manner of Proust and Joyce; and its recurring theme is memory. Much of human experience falls down a universal memory hole, and becomes ”dark matter”, she reflects, and all around us the ”sensual cacophony engulfs memories like quicksand”.

We are led to understand that the old manual typewriter print font used at the beginning of the book, and later, was the transcription done by Reinhard Hoeppli of a manuscript given to the Swiss doctor by his dear friend, Sir Edmund Backhouse, who wrote it on his deathbed in 1944.

How it reaches Linnie, and her connection with Backhouse, is revealed in striptease fashion as the story proceeds. But readers will remember Backhouse (also pronounced Bacchus) from the hatchet job done on him in 1976 by the historian, Hugh Trevor-Roper.

He was one of those minor English noblemen whose Greek, Latin, French and Italian were impeccable, but whose sexual predilections were so outrageous that his family were pleased when he fled his creditors and sailed to China, never to return.

No lover of Britain, Backhouse was on good terms with the likes of Oscar Wilde, Paul Verlaine, and Frederick Rolfe (the self-styled Baron Corvo, another bizarre figure of whom Australian author Robert Scoble wrote an account, Raven, last year).

Sir Edmund was soon at ease in Mandarin, as he was in the fleshpots of China and in the beds of numerous Chinese men. His China under the Empress Dowager appeared in 1911, but his memoirs, Decadence Mandchoue, were not published until a century later. Although G.E. Morrison thought him ”wonderfully clever but morally unsound”, Backhouse’s appreciation of Chinese culture evidently impressed Imperial courtiers.

One thing led to another and eventually to the Empress Cixi’s bed. Even curiouser, the 30-something Backhouse claimed he and the dowager, nearly 70, had a son, who was discreetly removed to England. All of which, and his connection to Chinese-looking Linnie – whose Australian foster parents told her she had an ancestor who was a prince – really is, as she says, stranger than fiction. You have to read it to choose to believe it.

”Great fun,” Linnie remarks of these carryings-on, ”but nothing to be taken too seriously.” The best fun is to be had not with Backhouse’s kiss-and-tell, but with Jaivin’s observations of Beijing throughout the book.

The heirs of Chinese culture are proud of their past, yet are destroying it: ”The old city [is] disappearing at the speed of memory.” Chinese of the 1980s generation recall the Tiananmen experience like a recurring nightmare, yet young Chinese know next to nothing of it, nor of the Cultural Revolution.

Jaivin has written repeatedly about Tiananmen, and here Linnie’s ex-lover Q is consumed by it. Yet knowing him only from her account he seems aloof and self-absorbed, and I find him less entrancing and his fate less devastating than she does.

More interesting is Q’s philosopher friend, the Sage, who runs a bar in an obscure corner of Beijing.

Linnie arrives there at midnight and he treats her hypothermia with mulled claret. Her hunt in the snow for the place, and her eventual encounter there, apparently with Dr Hoeppli himself (who must have been dead for decades), is the most atmospheric passage in a highly charged book.

It remains an enigma, and is the novel’s real climax, while the Tiananmen event which follows it is not.

Dr Alison Broinowski, a research associate at ANU, reviews and researches Asian Australian fiction.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on 苏州美甲培训.

posted by admin in 苏州美甲培训 and have Comments Off on Mixing fact with fable in a tall tale

Comments are closed.