A clever and compelling novel about illicit love and raw passion with unexpected twists and poignant depth.
Manfred Morse has just hit fifty, and also the wall. Life seems empty. His marriage is long since over, his leathery old father is in his tenth year of dying of cancer, while his colleagues play games of petty politics. Seeking stress leave from his New Zealand university, he takes a job as guest lecturer at a university in Shanghai. Here he suddenly comes face-to-face with raw passion, but in the shape of one his students, aged only eighteen. He ducks this way and that, fending off love and, when he can no longer hold out, he lashes out.
The young student goes missing. The police come knocking on Manfred's door. Who is the killer? Manfred? Or is he a victim? As the story slips back and forth between the southern and northern hemispheres, Shanghai increasingly takes centre stage: a pulsing city of crowded streets and clouding smog; motley smells and mindless noise; a complex and contradictory place that leaves Manfred both horrified and aroused. This is a clever and compelling novel from a prize-winning author.