My Goodreads friend Chrissie recommended this book to me, and from the opening pages I was hooked.
My father was a millionaire in Shanghai in the 1930s. Polo ponies, a Sikh chauffeur, a villa on eight acres in Hungjao, in the western part of the city. Nights out with my mother at the Cercle Sportif Francais, the Venus Cafe, the Cathay Hotel, the Del Monte – these were the details of his life. He was also an insurance salesman and a smuggler, an importer-exporter and a prisoner, a borrower and a spender, leading, much of the time, a charmed life, always seeming to play the odds and for a long time coming out on top.
Anna tells a story of her father that is a fascinating look at Shanghai just prior and during World War II, in addition to a heartbreaking memoir of a child’s need to understand and forgive a man who would love a city more than his daughter.
This is Bo Caldwell’s debut novel and it is truly fantastic. The sights and smells of Shanghai come alive as history unfolds and lives are broken.
I am grateful to Chrissie for recommending this marvelous novel and look forward to reading more by this author.
4 1/2 stars (out of 5)
Published in 2001