I liked the story's exotic setting and its potentially interesting characters, each of whom seems to have an unspoken agenda of some sort. The problem with the story, however is in the telling. Too many things that need to be spelled out are left unexplained (example: the past relationship of Alex to the newlyweds). Conversely, a lot of space is given to many things that don't need to be included at all (example: the heart/bar metaphor).
I think the narrative is trying so hard to be smart and sophisticated, that it forgets about the need to tell a clear story. Obscure references to things like H.G. Wells' morlocks and eloi, for example, add nothing to the story and it doesn't seem that they're used fittingly: for example, even in bad lighting, it doesn't seem that Fangfang, whom you imply is a pretty head-turner, would look like a morlock, which is a loathesome creature.
It's also hard to tell where the story is headed and what it's trying to say. Is Alex an old flame of the groom? Did she give him the red envelope on purpose, while pretending to be clueless about the superstitions surrounding the gift? We can't even begin to guess. And that needs to be fixed.
Review of: Only a Chinese woman would
reviewed by LBarbarell on 02/13/2011
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