Lust,Caution – Part 2

Ailing Zhang

Lust,Caution is a fictional war resistance novella of 37-page by the Chinese writer Eileen Chang.

Set in WW2 1942 Shanghai it is a tale of a honey trap, using a young pretty lady, prepared for the assassination of Mr. Yi a Chinese collaborator in the Government of Wang Jingwei.

According to the Penguin Editor’s Afterword by Julia Lovell, Chang took almost 3 decades rewriting the story from 1950s before publishing it in 1979.

She constantly revised the finale before settling for an ending whereby the spy fell into love with Mr Yi and alerted him to the trap just before the killers arrive. He escaped.

Chang’s 30-year struggle with the ending is a manifestation of two phases of her life.

A childhood life that straddles two different worlds. Between the conflicting force of modernity and tradition.

Her dad was the grandson-in-law of Li Hong Zhang, the powerful Qing statesman. A deeply traditional man in his ways.

Her mother was educated in England. She was a sophisticated woman of cosmopolitan tastes.

Lwh @ Macau
28 Nov 2023

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