SHANGHAI BABY, by Wei Hui, translated by Bruce Humes. Simon and Schuster, 2001, 259 pp., $10 (paper)

Sometimes context is everything. A sexually frank novel that reeks of thinly disguised autobiography told in a confessional style would hardly cause a ripple in the West these days. In China, however, such a book is banned, damned and publicly burned. Especially when the author penning such “decadence” is a woman.

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