Author(s): Stevan Eldred-Grigg
Manfred Morse has just hit fifty, and also the wall. Life seems empty. His marriage is long since over, his leathery old father is in his tenth year of dying of cancer, while his colleagues play games of petty politics. Seeking stress leave from his New Zealand university, he takes a job as guest lecturer at a university in Shanghai. Here he suddenly comes face-to-face with raw passion, but in the shape of one his students, aged only eighteen. He ducks this way and that, fending off love and, when he can no longer hold out, he lashes out. The young student goes missing. The police come knocking on Manfred's door. Who is the killer? Manfred? Or is he a victim? As the story slips back and forth between the southern and northern hemispheres, Shanghai increasingly takes centre stage: a pulsing city of crowded streets and clouding smog; motley smells and mindless noise; a complex and contradictory place that leaves Manfred both horrified and aroused. This is a clever and compelling novel from a prize-winning author. First published July 2006.
STEVAN ELDRED-GRIGG was born by mistake in the Grey Valley, New Zealand, in 1952. A novelist, short story writer, essayist and historian, he grew up and was educated in Canterbury, New Zealand, and Canberra, Australia. His first literary grant was awarded by the Australia Council in 1978. His first novel, Oracles and Miracles, was published in New Zealand in 1987. Chinese translations have been published recently under the title Sheng Xian Qi Ji. Other novels are The Siren Celia, The Shining City, Gardens of Fire, Mum, Blue Blood and Kaput! His histories include A Southern Gentry, A New History of Canterbury, Pleasures of the Flesh, Working People, The Rich and Xin Xilan de Wenxue Lucheng. He has three grown sons. Han Chao, his partner, is from Mongolia.