Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Playing for Thrills Hardcover – February 19, 1997


See all 7 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$9.37 $1.47



Customers Who Viewed This Item Also Viewed

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

The Good Girl by Mary Kubica
Discover an addictive, suspenseful debut thriller filled with twists and turns that will keep you engrossed from start to finish. Learn more

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow; 1st U.S. ed edition (February 19, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0688130461
  • ISBN-13: 978-0688130466
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.6 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,900,727 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Here's a book that succeeds on several different levels: as a gripping (if slightly eccentric) thriller, as a political statement, and as a social document about the way people can lead colorful and dangerously exciting underground lives even in a repressive country. Wang Shuo is a pioneer in what China has labeled "hooligan literature," writing novels, movie scripts, television series, and songs about people and subjects deemed so unfit for public consumption that his work is officially banned (although widely popular). Playing for Thrills, the first of his books to appear in English, is narrated by a former soldier and current wise guy named Fang Yan, who spends his time gambling, eating, drinking, trying to have sex, and wondering if he was indeed involved in the murder of a former army buddy 10 years ago, as the police seem to think. In Howard Goldblatt's lively translation, the author's dialogue has the snap of enhanced reality: "Not so fast," says a character called Fat Man Wu as he describes the small, exclusive "party" that he and Fang Yan belong to. "With us it's instinct. Sooner or later every member of our party cools his heels in jail--that's how we keep things jumping politically." --Dick Adler --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Reading this Chinese mystery is not unlike running with one foot glued to the ground. Perhaps it's the translation, but more likely it's the subversive quirkiness of the author, a popular Chinese novelist who has clearly devoured his hardboiled American crime novels and seen more than a few European films loaded with angst and noirisms. Maybe there was a murder 10 years ago. Dissolute narrator Fang Yan, a rebel without a cause in Beijing, does recall a woman, a job, a table full of friends and one figure sitting close by whom he can't quite identify. The authorities have picked Yan as their best suspect. He moves in panic through his beloved Beijing, always meeting people he knows, and even some who think he's someone else. Is he that someone else? Did he actually kill once? Is the man really dead? And who is the sitting figure on the far edges of his memory? The humor is dry yet clearly intentional. The cultural references are slight enough that these could be whoring, gambling, shiftless young men pretty much anywhere. Yan is a slovenly immoral drifter living on his charm and his wits-and clearly running low on both. Even if he's not guilty in this particular instance, he deserves at least some of the mental torture the narrative creates for him in a series of plot lurches drawn in equal parts from crime lore, existentialism and pure moral farce.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

More About the Authors

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By "yingchen" on February 17, 2001
Format: Paperback
I first read this book in chinese when I was 14. Like most 14 year-old, I read it only as a book that my parents wouldn't allow me to read. (By the way, it is never really banned in China, only criticized heavily by the authorities.) At that time, I found the book to be quite humorous, but nothing special. It wasn't the funniest book from Wang Shuo by all means. Twelve years later, I came across its english translation accidentally on a dusty library shelf. I was curious, picked it up, and started reading. Goldblatt's translation is very impressive, in fact, it doesn't have any of the awkard moments or sentences most of the translated works have here and there. He may have missed a few very subtle innuendos, but overall, the translation gave the book an even dreamier environment, and curiously, more fluent language than the original. I had to get the chinese edition and read it all over again, and after that, I have to admit for the first time that a translated work is actually better than the original. As for Wang Shuo's novel itself, this is probably the most structually complex one, and he did show off his enormous writing skills. But as the plot and character development goes, it's not the top of his work. It's about a generation (if you divide each generation by 10 years) that has robbed of its older ideology, the one they've been brought up with, so they become cynical; and yet, they could not adopt to the newer money-oriented philosophy of the younger generation, so they are still sincere and innocent in their own mind. To have spent their childhood and youth in the Culture Revolution, this is a story about a generation that's alienated from the society that has become, and yet desperately wants to join in the fun that they definitely know they won't enjoy.Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Elisabeth W. Movius on August 7, 2001
Format: Paperback
In Playing for Thrills, Wang Shuo weaves a complex, compelling, and utterly confusing web in which the reader is quickly trapped. The book is neither noir nor surreal, as it is often labelled, but filtered through the hazy lens of alientation and indifference, the reader quickly becomes as defracted as the characters.
I hated this book, but found it totally addictive. Wang Shuo is a master storyteller, and like a good film director, cleverly manipulates his audience, and we are always exactly where he wants us to be.
The plot is pretty petty and pointless, but the rambling narrative presents the best literary portrait there is of Beijing in the 1980s. It is especially amusing in its scathing portrait of the new semi-rich wheeler-dealer class, in all their tastelessness and self-importance.
Wang Shuo is arguably the most critically and commercially successful writer in modern China, and is also an acclaimed screen writer. This book may not provide a sense of his importance, but it will introduce readers to his expertly maneuvered prose.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Wu Yuan on December 30, 2000
Format: Paperback
In the editiorial review, Mr. Alder states that wang shuo's works are banned in China,("so unfit for public consumption that his work is officially banned (although widely popular). "), which is untrue I am afraid. Non of Wang Shuo's works has ever been offically banned in China. Recently Wang Shuo's collection has been published (4 volumes), which include almost all Wang Shuo's novels dating back to 1970's. Another two of his books that comment on some of the status of Chinese literature and reveal of his personal views have just been published in last two years.
I personally just can't help clearifying that there are not so many banned books in China as some of the westen readers might expect. No harm is meant here.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 13, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Wang Shuo knows Beijing and its citizen and shows they better than anybody else.If you have the chance go and live the ways of the Beijing of Wang Shuo. Maybe you'll find a Fan Yang in your way....
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Wu Yuan on December 29, 2000
Format: Paperback
Wang Shuo is known as a non-orthodox writer. But he acutually started writing in a very orthodox way. His early writings are in proper language and with upright spirit. But soon after he changed his style to the so-called pizi wenxue (hooligan literature), which gave him more freedom. But as he talked about his own writings recently, he fell into another fluffy trap, "as if he is the delegate of the god to announce truth to the ignorant general public." Later he looked down on this kind of people himself. His late works are very closely related to screenplays and became mature. "Playing for Thrills are one of his midterm works, which he regarded as formism himself and was not happy with it.
Wang Shuo is one of the most controversial writer in China at present. He is extremely famous for criticize and challenge of a lot of well-recognized scholars. He has a large number of both followers and criticizers, which forms a extradonary literacy phenomenon in China.
Playing for thrills is a book known for his sarcastic, spoken language style. It is real fun to read this book. But the author seems to show off his writing skills as he admitted later. I am personally a follower of Wang Shuo, but will not hesitate to point out the weakness in his ideology. I hope more of his works will be translated into foreign languages.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Customer Images

Search

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?