Book Review: Lust, Caution, by Eileen Chang

first_img(Penguin Classics; translated into English for the first time)From the flashes of diamond-clad fingers at the mah-jong table of the collaborating political elite, to the complaining internal monologue of a foreigner’s ‘amah’ (maidservant), faced with ration shortages in the darkest corners of  WWII Japanese-occupied Shanghai, Eileen Chang’s five short stories are steeped in vividly involving description. At times alarmingly cynical – for example, Mr Garter’s consolation that his sleeping amah is ugly, as competent servants are harder to find than easy women – the stories are more than a comment on the political situation of wartime Shanghai at Chang’s time of writing. They explore the gritty reality of raw emotion, exposed as if from within each character’s thoughts. Although love is hinted at and aspired to, it is with dexterity that Chang handles the confused lust of a young ‘femme-fatale’, the spitefulness of the sister-in-laws of a new bride, and the humiliation of ageing wives discarded by their husbands in favour of young concubines. Chang’s real triumph is her understanding of her female characters, although it is not always with a sympathetic view that she illustrates their grievances. The title novella of this collection is sadly misrepresentative of the charming simplicity of the remaining four stories. It gives the impression of being the bare skeleton of a much longer and more intricate plot. Indeed its overly complex array of characters and spy-plot circumstances only confuse the reader, and detract from the perfection of the language used to render what is nevertheless a tale of tense emotion. It is only a shame that Chang did not expand on the intrigues of this short story to a fully explicated novel. Owing to this is perhaps the success of the novella’s adaptation for the big screen (under the same title), and the Golden Lion which it won at the Venice Film Festival.Fortunately, this is true of ‘Lust, Caution’ alone. In the other four tales of occupied Shanghai, the beauty of Chang’s Chinese metaphor is enhanced by more simple plots. ‘In the Waiting Room’ takes the reader into the lives of its patients, their various individual tales momentarily interwoven in their common wait, whilst their seemingly petty worldly woes are symbolic of a more universal intertwining of human experience. The tales are a comment on Shanghai society from every perspective: the serving classes, old Chinese money and the ‘Nouveau Riche’. However, neither this nor the translation from Chinese makes them inaccessible to the Western reader, thanks both to the richness of the descriptive language and to the delicacy with which the translators have dealt with Chinese metaphor. ‘Wrapped in layers of clothes, her white, fleshy body was like a big, solid rice dumpling wrapped in bamboo leaves.’: the language achieves the feat of conjuring a very specific Chinese image, even in the Western mind, whilst the plot introduces the reader to the complexities of, and frictions within, the Chinese social order and familial relationships. By Sarah Fleminglast_img read more

Finding Kindred “Beerits” in the Blue Ridge Mountains

first_imgBy Nate Brocious, tasting room manager at Deschutes BreweryIt’s been a few months since we first announced that Roanoke, Virginia, would be home to Deschutes Brewery’s first east coast tasting room and brewing facility. Our public house and brewery were born nearly 30 years ago in Bend, Oregon’s rugged high desert country, along the banks of the Deschutes River. At the time, few had heard of craft beer, fewer cared, and our English-style Black Butte Porter stood in dark contrast to the lighter lagers of the big breweries.Our founders persevered none-the-less with a vision to make unique beer that pairs amazingly well with outdoor lifestyles, served in a comfortable gathering spot. Over the years, we introduced new flagships like Mirror Pond Pale Ale and Obsidian Stout. One drinker at a time, we built a devoted fan base of people who like top quality brew and the amazing experiences we strive to provide. From the very beginning, we’ve also believed in helping to build strong communities wherever we live and work.We’re proud of that legacy. So, when looking to expand to the right side of the country, we needed just the right place to embed those values. We found it in Virginia’s lush and rolling Blue Ridge Mountains. Here is a kindred community of craft beer lovers dedicated to each other and to the outdoors! Here is a place where renowned southern hospitality will complement our culture of offering outstanding experiences. Here we can continue helping to build healthy communities and putting people first. Since we first began to look at Roanoke back in 2015, we have received the warmest of welcomes from local breweries, beer drinkers, business leaders and elected officials, all eager to see us put down roots and bring our passion to the community’s growing craft beer scene. Roanoke got an early glimpse of us during two Street Pub events; the first in the summer of 2016 and the most recent in 2017. Both years, our 400-foot pop-up pub came and went in 24 hours, drawing about 20,000 to Elmwood Park. Locals got to sample our beer and say hello to friends, and we raised some $140,000 for area non-profits in just two years.We’ve loved the area so much that in the past two years we’ve rallied our teams to clean up Tinker Creek twice. We must have made a lot of new friends. On Aug. 28, 2017, hours before we officially opened our tasting room to the public, we were surprised and humbled to see a line had formed around the block on Market Street. Since then, we continue to welcome guests inside with friendly, knowledgeable staff and something always fresh on tap.Our tasting room was the start of a permanent footprint that will culminate to a fully operating brewery and east coast distribution center in 2021. Just like our original pub in Bend, we want our new tasting room to be a community gathering spot with a real sense of place.Here customers can come and experience a part of Oregon in our new east coast home. This will be something unique to Roanoke – inspired by the fantastic history and culture of Virginia. Our plan is to contribute to the growing vibrancy of the region as a craft beer and outdoor recreation destination. This summer, for example, we were excited to sponsor Roanoke Outside’s 2017 GO Cross Cyclocross Race; two full days of biking, leaping and slogging on the trail and of course, plenty of delicious beer. Our kind of fun! We may be one of the oldest breweries in the country, but in Roanoke, we’re energized and excited to say, we’re just getting started. Come by and check out our brand of craft beer culture. Get all the details about our Roanoke Tasting Room here.last_img read more

Guatemala: Elite Army Brigade Fights Narco-Trafficking

first_imgBy Dialogo October 02, 2012 GUATEMALA CITY – The Guatemalan Army Special Brigade for Forest Operations’ (BEOS) goal is clear: stop narco-trafficking in the country’s northeast, specifically in the department of Petén, which borders Mexico. The BEOS, which has a force of 600, is patrolling the area’s dense forests and numerous rivers and lakes with the Special Group for Interdiction and Rescue (GEIR) and Special Naval Forces unit, said Army spokesman Erick Escobedo. The deployment of troops was necessary because Petén has emerged as a major transshipment point for weapons and narcotics en route to Mexico and the United States, according to Minister of the Interior Mauricio López Bonilla. “The brigade coordinates mobilizations, especially for operations to intercept narcotics that are being transported by land or water,” López Bonilla said. But because the Army is prohibited from functioning as the police by law, its troops always are accompanied by the National Civilian Police and Public Ministry agents, who take suspects into custody while the military provides protection and support. “We want there to be integration among all of the forces,” López Bonilla said. The security forces have seized of 3,184.2 kilograms (7,020 pounds) of cocaine from January to Sept. 1 nationwide, compared to 4,199 kilograms (9,257 pounds) confiscated all of last year. But the security forces’ success doesn’t stop there. Since Guatemala’s profile as a narcotics-producing country has risen, so has the amount of precursors entering the nation. Counter-narcotics agents seized 13,763 barrels of precursor chemicals from January to Aug. 15 of this year, 34% more than the 10,197 barrels seized all of last year, according to the government. Helen Mack, director of the Myrna Mack Foundation, an organization that specializes in security analyses for Guatemala, said the degree of pressure the government is applying to narco-traffickers and organized groups is unprecedented in the country’s history. “Guatemala has a very vulnerable border in Petén, where many narcotics are smuggled out of the country,” she said. “With neither the adequate equipment nor personnel, the police couldn’t fight organized crime all by itself.” López Bonilla added six helicopters are being used in counter-narcotics operations in Petén, as well as along the border with Honduras and the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. The government also has targeted fishing vessels involved in narco-trafficking, as it is common for boats to pick up shipments from South America. Once the boat arrives at port, the narcotics are packed into cars with hidden compartments and are transported north – through Petén – to Mexico and the United States, López Bonilla said. On the Pacific Coast, Guatemala is being supported by 200 U.S. Marines, who recently arrived in Guatemala as part of Operation Martillo, an international mission that gathers Western Hemisphere and European nations in an effort to curtail illicit trafficking routes on both coasts of the Central American isthmus. Traffickers also are using airplanes to drop packages of drugs on Guatemalan territory close to the border with Honduras. The elite brigade has destroyed 45 clandestine landing strips in Petén. The BEOS also helps the National Council on Protected Areas (CONAP) with the preservation of the Mayan biosphere, and the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources to protect flora and fauna in the country’s northern region. “The biggest problem for biodiversity is the illegal extraction of wood,” said Mario Ávila, head of the National Civilian Police Division for the Protection of Nature (Diprona). Drug traffickers in particular clear vegetation to open space in the rainforest for their clandestine landing strips for planes carrying narcotics, officials said. In the 830,000-acre Parque Nacional Laguna del Tigre (Tiger Lagoon Park), in Petén, officials found 50 clandestine landing strips for small aircraft and three more in the Sierra del Lacandón, also located in Petén, last year. In Petén, community leaders, reportedly paid off by the drug cartels, encourage farmers to prune or burn down large portions of forest to create landing strips. Article talks about MEX-GTM border in Guatemala’s Peten Department (further north, kind of looks like Minnesota on a map)last_img read more

Alhambra Spa was rated as the best Luxury Boutique Spa in Croatia

first_imgNakon što je nedavno postao članom američke mreže vodećih turističkih subjekata Virtuoso, lošinjski 5* Boutique Hotel Alhambra dobitnik je novog priznanja. Naime, Alhambra Spa ocijenjen je kao najbolji Luxury Boutique Spa u Hrvatskoj. Nagradu mu je dodijelila priznata globalna organizacija World Luxury Hotel Awards, koja odaje priznanje luksuznim hotelima svjetske klase, a zahvaljujući izvrsnoj usluzi koja se očituje u odnosu prema gostima.World Luxury Hotel Awards ima za cilj poticanje i podizanje standarda usluga unutar luksuzne hotelske industrije diljem svijeta. Nagrade se inače dodjeljuju luksuznim hotelima u različitim kategorijama na razini pojedine države, kontinenta i svijeta. Uz to, lošinjska Alhambra dobitnik je TripAdvisorova certifikata izvrsnosti za 2017. te član renomirane grupacije Small Luxury Hotels of the World, koja broji svega 520 malih luksuznih hotela s vrhunskom ponudom koja udovoljava čak i onim najzahtjevnijim gostima.”Cilj posebno osmišljenih tretmana i rituala u luksuznom okruženju je omogućiti svakom gostu profinjeno i autentično SPA iskustvo, u potpunosti prilagođeno njegovim individualnim potrebama, a za što se koriste mirisi i arome Lošinja te kozmetika jednog od vodećih britanskih brendova Elemisa.” ističu iz hotela Alhambra koji je dio hotelskog brenda Lošinj Hotels&Villas Grupe Jadranka koji okuplja ukupno šest hotela i restorana te vile i apartman na najatraktivnijim lokacijama otoka Lošinja.last_img read more

Clippers’ Blake Griffin, Chris Paul decide to become free agents

first_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error The Clippers’ summer of uncertainty officially started Friday when Chris Paul and Blake Griffin notified the team they will opt out of their contracts to become unrestricted free agents.The moves, long expected, were first reported by The Vertical and ESPN.Griffin had until June 28 to make his decision, while Paul had until June 29.The Clippers are widely regarded as strong favorites to retain both players when they hit the open market July 1, given their financial advantages over competing teams in trying to sign them, but they will be courted and each surely will take meetings with multiple teams. He played in only 61 games this season, averaging 21.6 points and 8.1 rebounds, but missed the rest of the playoffs after injuring his big toe on April 21 during Game 4 of the Clippers’ first-round Western Conference series with the Utah Jazz.The Clippers have the ability to engage in sign-and-trade talks if either player were to decide he wants to continue his career somewhere else, but neither could get contracts of the value the Clippers could award them in that scenario. Sign-and-trades would simply allow other teams to clear cap space by sending assets back to the Clippers in exchange.Griffin and Paul are not the only Clippers on the free agent market.Shooting guard J.J. Redick, 32, is an unrestricted free agent and is reportedly looking for a contract that will pay him $18-$20 million annually. With the Clippers hoping to re-sign Paul and Griffin, that all but guarantees Redick will sign elsewhere. Redick is not expected to wait on his teammates’ decisions to make his own.Center Marreese Speights declined his 2017-18 player option in late May.Speights, who had until June 22 to inform the Clippers of his decision, made the veteran minimum of $1.459 million last season and would have earned $2.1 million next season had he picked up the option.He played in all 82 regular-season games, averaging 8.7 points and 4.5 rebounds and shooting 37.2 from 3-point range. Speights, 29, is expected to draw interest from teams looking to add depth in the frontcourt if he doesn’t re-sign with the Clippers.Forward Luc Mbah a Moute, 30, is also expected to opt out of his contract and become an unrestricted free agent this month. He is due $2.3 million next season, but figures to seek a pay raise and/or a longer-term deal from the Clippers or another team.center_img Paul, 32, is regarded as one of the premier point guards in the league. San Antonio is reportedly very interested, but the Spurs would need to clear significant salary-cap space to make signing Paul a reality. The 12-year pro has spent the past six seasons leading the Clippers.Paul can sign a five-year, $205 million extension with the Clippers. Other teams could offer him no more than a four-year deal worth approximately $152 million.In 61 games, Paul averaged 18.1 points, 9.2 assists and 2.0 steals per game last season to go with 124 3-pointers.Griffin, 28, is one of the NBA’s top power forwards, though he has struggled to stay healthy in his seven seasons since being drafted No. 1 overall by the Clippers in 2010.Griffin can re-sign with the Clippers for up to five years and $175 million. If he leaves, he could sign for up to four years and $130 million with another team. Boston is reportedly among the teams interested in Griffin.last_img read more