Night in Shanghai

Night in Shanghai

Book - 2014
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""Nicole Mones conjures up the jazz-filled, complex, turbulent world of Shanghai just before World War II. A rich and thoroughly captivating read."--Gail Tsukiyama, author of The Samurai's Garden Sailing to Shanghai in 1936 to lead a black jazz orchestra, Thomas Greene goes from being flat broke in segregated Baltimore to living in a mansion with servants of his own, and from the classical piano pieces he was trained to play to the toe-tapping swing of the big band era. Song Yuhua is refined, educated, and bonded since age eighteen to Shanghai's most powerful crime boss in payment for her father's gambling debts. Outwardly submissive, she burns with rage, longs for escape, and risks her life spying on her master for the Communist Party. With Shanghai shattered by the Japanese invasion, Thomas and Song find their way to each other and forge a bond from which neither can back down in the turbulent years that follow. Torn between music and survival, freedom and commitment, love and war, they navigate the dangers leading to world war until the moment when they must cast their lots in Night in Shanghai's final, impossible choice. "-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: Boston : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014.
ISBN: 9780547516172
Characteristics: 277 pages ; 24 cm


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May 28, 2019

Terrific story based on historic events.

Jun 17, 2014

I found this to be a fascinating read. I would never have thought of African-American musicians in pre-WWII Shanghai playing jazz for enthusiastic western and Chinese audiences. While fiction, the author's research into the real events makes it a pleasant and believable story.

ChristchurchLib May 25, 2014

"Classically trained and flat broke, African-American musician Thomas Greene flees segregated Baltimore in 1936 and ends up in Shanghai, where he's hired by Lin, whose father is the boss of one of the city's most powerful crime syndicates. While headlining at a swanky nightclub with his jazz ensemble, Greene meets translator and political activist Song Yuhua, whose affliations with the Communist party and Shanghai's criminal underworld complicate their mutual attraction. Meanwhile, the looming threat of Japanese invasion adds to Greene's increasingly tenuous situation. Like Esi Edugyan's Half-Blood Blues, Night in Shanghai presents a dramatic story of a black musician searching for creative fulfillment and professional success while the world teeters on the brink of war." Historical Fiction May 2014 newsletter

May 18, 2014

Great story! Shanghai at the brink of WWII, with the Japanese about to invade; black jazz musicians from America; Chinese gangsters; and spies -- everything you need for terrific entertainment. And Mones offers a chance to learn about a slice of history that doesn't get much attention.

There aren't many books that make you want to eat dim sum while listening to Duke Ellington records. Night in Shanghai may be the only one on the list.

May 03, 2014

That Thomas and Song will fall in love is much too obvious.


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