Set in the 1930s, this novel is based on the true story of a love affair between the nephew of Virginia Woolf and the married Chinese writer, Lin Cheng. Both of the main characters are infuriatingly reluctant to come to terms with their emotions but this only adds to the tension of this erotic and very moving tale. Having read the fiction this book made me want to find out more about events surrounding the affair in the real world.
Yes, he liked Lin. He was trying to seduce her, partly out of curiosity, to find out what it was like to make love to a Chinese woman. That was all.
She was a famous writer with a scholar for a husband, both well known in Chinese intellectual circles. Outwardly her eight-year marriage was successful. Appearance was everything in a marriage, particularly in China. Then what on earth gave him the right to destroy it simply out of sexual curiosity? Even if he married her, he could not give her a better or more satisfying life than she already had. So why should he do it?
If it was only curiosity then he could put a stop to his seduction. There were plenty of bar girls in China to take as mistresses. He felt calmer once he had reached this conclusion.