Shanghai Grand: Forbidden Love and International Intrigue on the Eve of the Second World War
Taras Grescoe spins the true story of a British aristocrat, an American flapper, and a Chinese poet who found themselves trapped in an unlikely love triangle amid the decadence of Jazz Age Shanghai.
On the eve of WWII, the foreign-controlled port of Shanghai was the rendezvous for the twentieth century's most outlandish adventurers, all under the watchful eye of the fabulously wealthy Sir Victor Sassoon.
Emily "Mickey" Hahn was a legendary New Yorker journalist whose vivid writing played a crucial role in opening Western eyes to the realities of life in China.
At the height of the Depression, Hahn arrives in Shanghai after a disappointing affair with an alcoholic Hollywood screenwriter, convinced she would never love again. After checking in to Sassoon's glamorous Cathay Hotel, Hahn is absorbed into the social swirl of the expats drawn to pre-war China, among them Ernest Hemingway, Martha Gellhorn, Harold Acton, and a colorful gangster named Morris "Two-Gun" Cohen. But when she meets Zau Sinmay, a Chinese poet from an illustrious family, she discovers the real Shanghai through his eyes: the city of rich colonials, triple agents, opium smokers, displaced Chinese peasants, and increasingly desperate White Russian and Jewish refugees--a place her innate curiosity will lead her to explore firsthand. Danger lurks on the horizon, though, as the brutal Japanese occupation destroys the seductive world of pre-war Shanghai, paving the way for Mao Tse-tung's Communists rise to power.
A vivid account of the love triangle between an American journalist and adventurer, a wealthy expatriate businessman and a Chinese poet in Shanghai in the late 1930s.
As Taras Grescoe, a respected Canadian writer of nonfiction, shows in this marvellous, microscopically descriptive history of what is now one of the most populous and smoggiest megalopolises on earth, Shanghai in the 1930s was internationally notorious as 'the wicked old Paris of the Orient', with 'as vivid a cast of chancers, schemers, exhibitionists, double-dealers and self-made villains as had ever been assembled in one place'. Grescoe lavishly keeps the promise of his book's subtitle. The Spectator
Taras Grescoe is an award-winning journalist, and the author of five books, which have been translated into six languages on three continents. He is a regular contributor to a wide range of newspapers and magazines, including the New York Times, the International Herald Tribune, National Geographic Traveler, The Times and the Guardian. He lives in Montreal, Canada.