We gave it a B+
In this dreamy yet powerful novel set in ’30s Japanese-occupied Manchuria, a Chinese schoolgirl escapes both her adolescent romantic tribulations and violent political upheavals by playing go, the ancient Asian board game, in a public square. She excels at the meditative game, and is drawn into a long-running match with an anonymous young Japanese soldier. Their peaceful, almost wordless interactions appear in stark contrast to the noisy, increasingly bloody battles. Despite some lyrical excesses and a slow start, this unlikely love story (gracefully translated from French by Adriana Hunter) is beautiful, shocking, and sad.