Saturday, December 02, 2006

Qiu Xiaolong and his editors

Just a brief post to keep my traffic up while I'm otherwise occupied, far from the worries of work.

Qiu Xiaolong recounts here how the editor of his second novel, A Loyal Character Dancer, urged on him a more conventional opening than the slow, revelatory first chapter of Death of A Red Heroine: "With my second book, my editor insisted on the discovery of a body at the very beginning, and I complied, which may be a trick, but not really mine."

I wonder, too, about Qiu's decision to bring back U.S. Marshal Catherine Rohn to work with Chen in A Case of Two Cities. She first appeared in A Loyal Character Dancer, working with Chen to track down an errant Chinese witness scheduled to testify in a U.S. case. Qiu has Chen feel awkard and occasionally uncomfortable around Rohn, a not terribly successful attempt at sexual tension. I wonder if that sexual tension was another suggestion from the same editor that Qiu add yet another conventional touch to his writing. I'll note with interest if he integrates the character better into A Case of Two Cities.

© Peter Rozovsky 2006

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