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At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Lust, Caution’, 24 January 2008

Lust, Caution 
directed by Ang Lee.
October 2007
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... melodrama. There is a risk of cliché in this thought, but I am only following the director Ang Lee down this path, and he avoids it through cleverness. In the film moderately scrutable orientals play inscrutable orientals pretending to be inscrutable orientals. The setting is mainly occupied Shanghai during World War Two, with a long flashback set ...

What the Public Most Wants to See

Christopher Tayler: Rick Moody, 23 February 2006

The Diviners 
by Rick Moody.
Faber, 567 pp., £12.99, January 2006, 0 571 22946 8
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... developed in Purple America, published five years later. The Ice Storm, which was filmed by Ang Lee in 1997, widens the generational canvas to include the sorrows of hard-drinking, unhappily married couples in Fairfield County, Connecticut, and their adolescent children. Set in 1973, with Watergate looming large in the TV schedules, it mixes a ...

Small Feet Were an Advantage

Yun Sheng: Eileen Chang, 1 August 2019

Little Reunions 
by Eileen Chang, translated by Jane Weizhen Pan and Martin Merz.
NYRB, 352 pp., £9.99, February 2019, 978 1 68137 127 6
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... similar happens in the short story ‘Lust, Caution’, which was adapted into a movie directed by Ang Lee). She immediately changes it into gold bars and gives them to her mother, but she refuses them. Later, when Chih-yung goes into hiding, she gives him back all the money in gold bars, and pays for his mistress’s abortion.*Why the rush to pay her ...

Sheer Cloakery

Adam Mars-Jones: Joshua Cohen, 24 September 2015

Book of Numbers 
by Joshua Cohen.
Harvill Secker, 580 pp., £16.99, June 2015, 978 1 84655 865 8
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... his creation, so there’s no mention of Bill Gates, Steve Jobs or Steve Wozniak, or Tim Berners-Lee. Onto the emptied skies of his own planetarium he is then able to project a new constellation. Bodies of a lower magnitude are allowed to twinkle faintly in the new dark – eBay, Samsung, IBM, Hewlett Packard. Microsoft gets passing mentions, though it might ...

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