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Sea of Regret Paperback – July 1, 1995

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Paperback, July 1, 1995
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 220 pages
  • Publisher: University of Hawaii Press (July 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0824817095
  • ISBN-13: 978-0824817091
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #894,240 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Gromer on June 11, 2013
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I never read Chinese novels, let alone turn-of-the-century ones. They sound so boring! But because I discovered Patrick Hanan, the wittiest, most elegant translator of Chinese-to-English texts I've ever read, I decided to buy every single Patrick Hanan book that was ever published. Two reasons: (1) Hanan seems to always select Chinese texts that disrupt stereotypes of the Chinese, which is darned fascinating; (2) In addition to being a skilled linguist and translator, he's a brilliant writer. You will not fall asleep.

The Sea of Regret has 2 novellas in it. I probably would NEVER have read them (in Chinese or English) if they weren't curated by Hanan. Well, I'm sold. The first novella is better to modern readers than the 2nd, which is undeservedly more famous - an outcome that Hanan seems to be trying to correct. Chinese storytelling has weird pacing, which can be irritating to modern readers, but they were still really moving stories that suck you in.

These novellas are paired together here for a reason: they demonstrate turn-of-the-century Chinese attitudes about sensual love and marriage (the stuff your Chinese parents never tell you). The lush world conjured up by this book - filled with good-looking men and women prancing about in beautiful Ye Olde China - is more authentic than any Hollywood/PRC movie out there. This is the real thing. Put on your Shanghai Tang clothes and read it.

Hanan's non-fiction book "Chinese Fiction of the Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries" has an essay that talks more about these novels. Follow the ant trail. It's fascinating. I'm not even an academic or student of Chinese lit.
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