Shanghai Dancing marks the U.S. debut of the major Australian literary figure, Brian Castro. A "fictional autobiography," Shanghai Dancing is a dazzling meditation on identity, language and disorientation by a writer who has been compared to W.G. Sebald. The book follows narrator Antonio Castro from Australia to his Hong Kong birthplace. The trip occasions an exploration of family myths and secrets that encompass Jewish, Portuguese, Chinese and English forebears and that extends from religious persecution in the Inquisition to the frenzied decadence that preceded Japan's invasion of Shanghai to the 1999 handover of Hong Kong to contemporary Australia. One of Castro's forefathers is burned at the stake; another smuggles the bones of Christian martyrs from Japan. His grandparents include a red-haired, green-eyed Jewess, a Chinese surgeon with a fetish for bound feet, and a Lilipudlian missionary. In Shanghai Dancing, Castro employs a sophisticated, sensual prose as well as maps, photographs, documents and letters to explore the evanescence of a shifting, polyglot world. Awarded some of Australia's most prestigious literary prizes, the book has been called, "impressive as history, as fiction, as a book which stretches the literary form and which speaks to the universality of the human experience."
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April 2009 : USA Paperback
January 2003 : Australia Paperback
October 2011 : USA, Canada, UK Kindle edition