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The Black King [Paperback]

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Item description for The Black King by Eleanor B. Morris Wu...

The Black King by Eleanor B. Morris Wu

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Item Specifications...


Pages   464
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.5" Width: 5.5" Height: 1.03"
Weight:   1.29 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Apr 30, 2004
Publisher   Washington House
ISBN  1932581219  
ISBN13  9781932581218  


Availability  0 units.


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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Contemporary
2Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General



Reviews - What do customers think about The Black King?

WELL BALANCED WITH FACTS AND FICTION! TRY IT!  Nov 11, 2004
THE BLACK KING, Eleanor B. Morris Wu's sequel to LOSING PLUM BLOSSOM is once again set in Taiwan and continues the trials and tribulations of the main character, Clarissa Carleton, an exiled American war widow who marries a local doctor with Japanese connections. The match is not without its problems as her newly acquired husband neglects her for work, leaving Clarissa confused, hurt and seeking friendship among her countrymen. Clarissa's new family connections, however, turn out to be more important than she had ever dreamed of and unwittingly she soon becomes a pawn in the power struggle for Taiwan's independence as the major players of the region readily use her to further their own ambitions. This is an excellent read and well balanced with facts and fiction. Try it!!!
 
Sequel to "A Unique Novel"  Jun 15, 2004
Last year I reviewed Eleanor B. Morris Wu's first novel, "Losing Plum Blosson," under the review title "A Unique Novel." "The Black King" is the sequel to her first novel, and it qualifies for a "unique" label as well. I suggest you read "Losing Plum Blossom" and its this site reviews before taking on "The Black King" or you'll be lost.

"The Black King" is set in Taiwan around 2001. The plot revolves around the escapades (mostly sex and alcohol related) of several members of the self-important but cheesey expatriate community in Taipei and a few Taiwanese who have the misfortune to come into contact with them. Superimposed on these is an international intrigue involving secret left-wing and right-wing groups in the U.S.A. called CENTURION and PHALANX, who are trying either to promote or discourage the Taiwan independence movement for arcane reasons of their own. Unfortunately, UNCLE and CONTROL never get involved.

The nexus of all these intrigues is a neurotic, over-the-hill American Vietnam War widow. The success or failure of the CENTURION and PHALANX agendas hinges on getting her into bed (or not) and luring her away from her Japanese-Taiwanese husband, an eminent orthopedic surgeon who belongs to some kind of radical Buddhist sect (which probably exists only in his own mind) and declines to consummate the marriage for spiritual reasons.

Ms. Wu is a long-term resident and educator in Taiwan, which uniquely qualifies her to write accurately and convincingly about the local scene. Given that few popular novels have been set in Taiwan, and that most Americans don't even know where it is, anyone interested in East Asian history, politics, and street life should give this novel a try.

A defect of Ms. Wu's first novel, "Losing Plum Blossom," was that it looked as if it went directly from the author's printer to the publisher with no editorial intervention at all. "The Black King" still suffers somewhat from this problem, although it is much tighter and more conscientiously edited than "Plum Blossom." Some distracting flaws that I hope the author will attend to in her next novel are as follows.

(1) The habit of enclosing names of streets, hotels, bars, etc. in quotation marks is very irritating. Capitalization should suffice to let an intelligent reader know that these are proper names.
(2) The practice of having Taiwanese speak in highly accented pidgin English, even when they are speaking Mandarin or Taiwanese among themselves, is somewhat condescending and mostly unrealistic. I live in Taiwan and have seldom heard people talk like that.
(3) Many of the Chinese place names in the novel are mistranslated. This won't matter to most people, who don't know the difference, but it bothers someone who does.
(4) Former Vice-President Dan Quayle would be gratified to find the word "potatoe" on page 71.

I look forward to Ms. Wu's future literary efforts.

 
Sequel to "A Unique Novel"  Jun 14, 2004
Last year I reviewed Eleanor B. Morris Wu's first novel, "Losing Plum Blosson," under the review title "A Unique Novel." "The Black King" is the sequel to her first novel, and it qualifies for a "unique" label as well. I suggest you read "Losing Plum Blossom" and its this site reviews before taking on "The Black King" or you'll be lost.

"The Black King" is set in Taiwan around 2001, based on various internal clues alluding to the presidency of George Dumbya Bush. The plot revolves around the escapades (mostly sex and alcohol related) of several members of the self-important but cheesey expatriate community in Taipei and a few Taiwanese who have the misfortune to come into contact with them. Superimposed on these is an international intrique involving secret left-wing and right-wing groups in the U.S.A. called CENTURION and PHALANX, who are trying either to promote or discourage the Taiwan independence movement for arcane reasons of their own. Unfortunately, UNCLE and CONTROL never get involved.

The nexus of all these intrigues is a neurotic, over-the-hill American Vietnam War widow. The success or failure of the CENTURION and PHALANX agendas hinges on getting her into bed (or not) and luring her away from her Japanese-Taiwanese husband, an eminent orthopedic surgeon who belongs to some kind of radical Buddhist sect (which probably exists only in his own mind) and has failed to consummate the marriage for spiritual reasons.

Ms. Wu is a long-term resident and educator in Taiwan, which uniquely qualifies her to write accurately and convincingly about the local scene. Given that few popular novels have been set in Taiwan, and that most Americans don't even know where it is, anyone remotely interested in East Asian history, politics, and street life should definitely give this novel a try.

A defect of Ms. Wu's first novel, "Losing Plum Blossom," was that it looked as if it went directly from the author's printer to the publisher with no editorial intervention at all. "The Black King" still suffers somewhat from this problem, although it is much tighter and conscientiously edited than "Plum Blossom." Some distracting flaws that I hope the author will attend to in her next novel are as follows.

(1) The habit of enclosing names of streets, hotels, bars, etc. in quotation marks is very irritating. Capitalization alone should suffice to let an intelligent reader know that these are proper names.
(2) The practice of having Taiwanese speak in highly accented pidgin English, even when they are speaking Mandarin or Taiwanese among themselves, is somewhat condescending and mostly unrealistic. I live in Taiwan and have seldom heard people talk like that.
(3) Many of the Chinese place names in the novel are mistranslated. This won't matter to most people, who don't know the difference, but it bothers someone who does.
(4) Former Vice-President Dan Quayle would be gratified to find the word "potatoe" on page 71.

I look forward to Ms. Wu's future literary efforts.

 

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