Quins Shanghai Circus

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  1. Reprint, Spring 1976
  2. Quin's Shanghai Circus by Edward Whittemore | NOOK Book (eBook) | Barnes & Noble®
  3. Quins Shanghai Circus
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Alive with a fascinating cast of characters and equally enthralling turns of events, former CIA officer Whittemore offers readers a mesmerizing glimpse at a secret history of the twentieth century. A bizarre shaggy dog story set in Japan and China, spanning 60 years of war, love, espionage and terrible crimes. Your audiobook is waiting….

Quin's Shanghai Circus. By: Edward Whittemore. Narrated by: Brian Zelis. Length: 10 hrs and 7 mins.

Publisher's Summary

Narrator In the Balance. What members say Average Customer Ratings Overall. Ballard shares with other chroniclers of the Zone the desire to present a moment when politics and society as normally understood have collapsed. This booster-prose contains some truth. There can be few riverfronts more impressive than Shanghai's.

However, it is not the Bund as a whole of which Ballard is writing.

Reprint, Spring 1976

Just north of the original walled city, at the junction of the Hwangpoo and Woosung Rivers the Yangtze is actually some miles from the site , the English built their own compound. The French and the Americans followed suit. The Chinese Bund was much further down the social scale. The funeral pier was for those who could not afford to bury their dead.

So long as he is protected by British dominance, Ballard's young protagonist Jim need not confront the Zone-like qualities of his city and its environs. More precisely, he can take these qualities for granted, register them while suppressing their implications.

Quin's Shanghai Circus by Edward Whittemore | NOOK Book (eBook) | Barnes & Noble®

Ballard gives us one horrible moment when Yang the chauffeur, driving out of the gates, directs a magnificent car somewhat carelessly over the corpse of a Chinese beggar; Jim looks back through a polished window and sees that the corpse's arm has been severed. Once he has lost his privileged status—and, almost simultaneously, been separated from his parents— his apprehension of Shanghai changes, along with the packing-order within the city. Jim does not exactly gain a social conscience.

Jim becomes both hyperactive and disoriented. Mentally as well as geographically, he enters the Zone. Because he adapts so well to prison life, he comes to hope that the war will never end: Dr. He uses them as a way into Jim's most compelling confusion. Ballard briefly mentions the boy's confrontation in the camp hospital with "a Belgian woman who had seemed to come back from the dead. American planes drop rations from the sky. Jim eats Spam. Each was enveloped in the same mucus. Food fed death, the eager and waiting death of their own bodies.

I have not thus far mentioned the book's ultimate death-vision.

Ballard prepares this moment through a chain of allusions to movies. Yang, chauffeur to Jim's family, works in the Shanghai film industry. Wandering through Shanghai, Jim sees an advertisement for Gone With the Wind, an historical epic quite different than Ballard's own.

A slowly starving prisoner, Mrs. Vincent, "stared at the whitewashed walls above her son's bunk, as if watching an invisible film. Jim worried that Mrs. Vincent spent too much of her time watching these films. This sort of reference is recalled when Jim and his fellow prisoners are interned within a "concrete arena. The prisoners lie dying from hunger and exhaustion among a plethora of goods that have been confiscated from Jim's own neighborhood there are cocktail cabinets, rotting carpets, fifty or so luxury cars; Jim hopes to find a prized Studebaker, which once belonged to a friend of his father's who is now dying beside him.

The true Empire of the Sun neither British nor Japanese announces itself.

Shanghai Acrobatics Show (2018)

Salvation comes from the skies, but not just any old salvation: "Jim smiled at the Japanese [guard], wishing that he could tell him that the light was a premonition of his death, the sight of his small soul joining the larger soul of the dying world. War, film, theology, apocalyptic prophecy, and what Freud called the death drive are at this moment fused together. It is easy to suspect that Spielberg too has been seeking it. Raiders of the Lost Ark went for the same sort of muddled, groping climax.

The holy ark burned to a crisp the Nazis who dared meddle with it. Empire could easily be read as a Spielberg-like work, more grist for the same old mill. And so it might have turned out; the movie could have looked like just another spectacular from the light-factory— beautiful, confused, and in love with its own stunning visual impact.


Quins Shanghai Circus

I don't want to highlight any one reason for Spielberg's success; there are a great number of things that are right about the film Empire. Nonetheless, a few are worth singling out. And then we will have some sense of why that blast is different from anything in this director's cinematic past. One good sign is that Spielberg and Stoppard unlike Ballard are sparing with references to film. Apart from this irresistible detail, there is little about movies before the explosion. Perhaps Spielberg has finally realized that film allusions within a film tend to function differently than film allusions within a book.

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A second encouraging note: Spielberg has moderated some of his dewy-eyed love for childhood innocence. It is a construct to which Spielberg is enormously attracted.

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After E. Ballard's novel provides a useful counterweight to this inclination. Ballard is ruthless about conveying Jim's. With one or two lapses—there are some odd family-of-man moments preaching that if people were nice, everything would be OK—Spielberg conveys Jim's point of view without insisting on the moral superiority or moral uniqueness of children.

A third point. Along with George Lucas, Spielberg has long been fond of that irritating figure, the surly young male adventurer with a heart of gold. There's an Indiana Jones type in Empire, but he proves to be profoundly rotten. There are times when Malkovich seems to be doing his Harrison Ford imitation, but he achieves a fascinating blankness which Ford has never matched and probably isn't capable of reaching. Neither of these revisions helps or hurts much, though the first one is more to the point.

Basic is capable of turning anything including Jim into a commodity. There was a problem with this ambivalence. Spielberg seemed to suppose that science could be made OK if only we were persuaded largely by cinematic means to class it with magic—that is, with visits from the gods. Ballard's third-person but intimate narration and Spielberg's dogged concentration on the frightened, struggling figure of Jim both push us towards conflating the adult J.

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