David Wang highlights the unique place that “Lust, Caution” author Eileen Chang holds in contemporary Chinese culture. Praise. “A dazzling and distinctive fiction writer.” —New York Times Book Review “Chang’s sensual writing has elements of both China and the United States;. Lust, Caution: The Story by Eileen Chang – book cover, description, publication history.

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Open Preview See a Problem? Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. In s Shanghai, beautiful young Jiazhi spends her days playing mahjong and drinking tea with high-society ladies. But China es occupied by invading Japanese forces, and in wartime things are not always what they seem.

Jiazhi’s life is a front. A patriotic student radical, her mission is to seduce a poweful employee of the occupying government and lead him to the assassin In s Shanghai, beautiful young Jiazhi luts her days playing mahjong and drinking tea with high-society ladies. A patriotic student radical, her mission is to seduce a poweful employee of the occupying government and lead him to the assassin’s bullet.

Yet as she waits for him to arrive at their liasion, Jiazhi begins to wonder if she is cut out to be a femme fatake and coldly take Mr Yi to his death. Or is she beginning to fall in love with him? A passionate tale of lush, deception and love, accompanied here by four further short stories by Eileen Chang. Paperbackpages. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Lust, Caution and Other Storiesplease sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Lust, Caution and Other Stories. Lists with This Book. Jan 17, Lydia rated it liked it Shelves: I picked this up at the library on a whim and was happy I did. Lust, Caution and Other Stories is a series of short stories set in ‘s Shanghai. A stark political backdrop, a time of turmoil where food rations are real and travel is limited. And yet, Eileen Chang decides instead to focus precisely, intently on the minutiae of life for the characters in her stories.

I found some of the stories difficult or slow because of lush little plot there is, but then there were so many fileen things I enj I picked this up at the library on a whim and was happy I did. I found some of cuation stories difficult or slow because of how little plot there is, but then there were so many other things I enjoyed about her writing. I want to say that it reminds me a little of Raymond Carver — his fascination with the mundane is similar to hers channg that’s where the similarities end.

Lust, Caution (novella) – Wikipedia

Chang is all about details, details, details. I liked the dialogue, the gossipy old cooks and cleaning ladies and I loved some of the ways Chang described her characters. Her prose has its own delicate beauty like a fine, bitter tea. There’s a part about a character’s eyes being downcast, the beige colour of moth’s wings — I was completely swept cang in that moment, in her prose.

Also, Chang’s daution on the back of this book is just great. She looks like such a powerhouse and someone I’d love to know but also be afraid of.

Lust, Caution: The Story: Eileen Chang, Julia Lovell, Ang Lee: : Books

Daution liked this book. I’m lusst sad it took me as long to read as it did but I’m cauion I read it. I do feel like I cjang a break between this book and the next one, though. May 13, Umi rated it really liked it. The first story in this collection is Extremely Me and Exactly What I Wanted to read after a whole bunch of those other spy novels, especially the latter ones in which the girls seem to play increasingly smaller roles.


Shanghai and Hong Kong keep cropping up in a bunch of things I enjoy lately, so it was a nice dovetail with that as well as all the stories I grew up hearing my grandmother whose own father was a spy! The first story is deliciously atmospheric and perfect to get lost in. The rest have done really beautiful moments and I love the sense Chang conveys of sort of coming in to something that’s already begun and slipping out before it’s actually finished.

I kept feeling like I was missing some cultural or linguistic contexts for things; I kept wondering about the possible significance of the way characters spelled their names in the original Chinese or mentions of what people bought or chzng they traveled. Overall though, a really compelling and lovely collection of stories. A good collection of five short stories. The story of the title didn’t feel as smooth as the four others, which I think might be because of the translation.

Lust, Caution and Other Stories

All the stories have a simple feel to them, despite the brutality in some of them they’re never sentimental. Aug 04, Edward marked it as to-read Shelves: Eileen Chang makes me think of E. Annie Proulx, plucked out of the Appalachians and dropped in occupied Shanghai in the s. She loves describing faces, and I love her descriptions. May 09, James rated it really liked it Shelves: Literature in Republican-era China was dominated by concerns of “Nation”, “Progress”, and “Revolution”; themes that promised national salvation through literature by the like of noted authors such as Lu Xun, Mao Dun, Ding Ling, or Guo Moruo.

Literature that deviated from this aim was often disparaged or looked down on for its “bourgeois” tendencies and its lack of concern for the future of China, the quality of the literature notwithstanding. Eileen Chang Zhang Ailing was one such author looked down on by the May Fourth writers for her portrayals of love and life in wartime Shanghai or Hong Kong.

However, in this collection, it becomes evidently clear that Chang’s literary worth was understated by her peers during her lifetime and that she is a noted artist of the human condition. The highlight of the collection is of course “Lust, Caution” – both a taught, atmospheric spy story and a powerful story of love and betrayal. In a few sentences, Chang captures perfectly the sights and sounds of s Shanghai, the struggles of occupation and collaboration, and the psychological drama to which a double agent is subjected.

Jiazhi, the spy in question, is tasked with luring Mr Yi, a noted collaborator to his death, but her feelings interfere and ultimately spare him. Immediately, the difference between Chang and certain “patriotic” writers becomes clear: Chang then is able to firmly respond to her contemporary political critics with this short story, as Julia Lovell writes in the afterword to this edition, for “In ‘Lust, Caution’, the loud public questions – war, revolution, national survival – that Chang had for decades been accused of sidelining are freely given centre stage, then exposed as transient, alienating, and finally subordinate to the quiet, private themes of emotional loyalty, vanity and betrayal.

All of them are set against the familiar backdrop of Republican Shanghai, that heady, crazy city half foreign and half Chinese but the characters are distinctively Chang’s creations. Of them, the highlights are possibly “Steamed Osmanthus Flower” and “Great Felicity” – both of which focus not only on women’s roles in Republican China but also provide a window into life at the time.

In “Steamed Osmanthus Flower”, Ah Xiao swelters in an Indian Summer while she contends with the difficulties of being employed by a foreigner. In all of the her stories presented here, Eileen Chang refutes her peers’ criticism that she was a “banal boudoir realist” and instead proves herself to be a powerful writer and one who was more than able to portray the struggles of human life regardless of the historical setting.

Reality was never as clearcut as the May Fourth and revolutionary writers would have hoped, instead Chang captures the true clamour and complications of life in all its forms.


Dec 16, Lane Ashfeldt rated it really liked it Shelves: Packed with flashback, intrigue and subtle detail, ‘Lust, Caution’ so condensed it improves on a second read.

Other pieces are more simply constructed but equally evocative of Shanghai in the s and 40s, where Chang grew up and began to publish. Along with her insightful non-judgmental way of presenting her characters and their dilemmas, the stories share an admirable clarity, precision and attention to detail, as if Eileen Chang sensed that she was writing as much for posterity as for contemporary readers.

Really wanted to like these stories, but the writing just did nothing for me. I found myself having to reread sentences because it wasn’t going in.

Each story had a different translator aswell, so maybe this had a jarring effect. On the surface the individual summaries of each of the stories sound like plots that I tend to enjoy. But although the stories are well written, the writing style just wasn’t flowing for me. Aug 22, Bruce Roderick rated it it was ok Shelves: Although Eileen Chang was born in Shanghai she moved around China throughout her life. In contrast to J. Where Ballard takes us to the same place and time through the perspective of an outsider, Chang provides private insight to Chinese culture during an intrusive period.

Her themes of each of these stories revolve around feminism, individuality, sexuality, and national identity.

I felt the downfall of these stories was that it could be tedious and too focused on specific irrelevant events of a period when there were more important things going on. These themes and ideas eilren be addressed with more exposure what was happening on the outside. Since Lhst of the Sun focused on the war through the eyes of a British boy in an internment not concentration! I would recommend starting with Empire of the Catuion and then moving to Lust, Caution. The first will provide a broad foundation of understanding for the period, and the latter a specific insight to one side.

Jan 17, Harsha Priolkar rated it it was ok Shelves: I prefer my fiction long. I prefer a complete story to snippets from life, no matter how well written. And these are well written. Eileen Chang writes beautifully.

Her descriptions and characterisations are on point and often incisive. She explores universal themes of love, jealousy, friendship, selfishness, disappointment, fear amongst others, set against a backdrop of Occupied Shanghai. The war and the occupation however are very much in the background and mentioned only rarely as a cause of rising costs of living and general hardship.

Every story is well told although Lust, Caution is my favourite because it focuses on one event from start to finish and so feels complete to me. Even though I enjoyed the writing in the others, I was always left with a feeling of discontent at the end, mostly because I felt like each of them could easily have been a novella in itself!

I think readers who enjoy the short story format will enjoy this collection and do it far more justice that I did.

Lust, Caution: The Story

This collection of short stories focuses on life during the Second World War in Shanghai and partly Hong Kongincluding aspects of the Japanese occupation. Eileen Chang lived through this period in Shanghai and Hong Kong, and while many of the stories are about mundane everyday life, the issues of culture, imperialism, intrigue, gender roles and relations, class, and love provide an interesting ethnography of the times.

The trajectory of the plots are noticeably different to male and western This collection of short stories focuses on life during the Second World War in Shanghai and partly Hong Kongincluding aspects of the Japanese occupation.