Not Logged in.
Book Jacket
Night in Shanghai
The forgotten story of black musicians in the Chinese jazz age, and a...
Summary and Reviews
Excerpt
Reading Guide
Author Biography

Did the novel's fidelity to true events affect your perception of the story? Do you think there is something different about a story based on true events?

Created: 01/11/15

Replies: 17

Posted Jan. 11, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 1358

Expert

Did the novel's fidelity to true events affect your perception of the story? Do you think there is something different about a story based on true events?

All the major events in Night in Shanghai actually happened, and except for Thomas Greene, Song Yuhua, Lin Ming, and David Epstein, almost all the book's characters really lived (and can be seen in photos and film on the author's website: http://www.nicolemones.com/books/night-in-shanghai/). The novel ends with a nonfiction-style epilogue. Did the novel's fidelity to true events affect your perception of the story? Do you think there is something different about a story based on true events?


Posted Jan. 12, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Hulananni

Join Date: 06/13/11

Posts: 42

history lesson

I learned so many new facts about the era preceding WWII. I was only 6 when it began for the US so I found the facts interesting and informative.


Posted Jan. 12, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Alta

Join Date: 01/12/15

Posts: 4

RE: Did the novel's fidelity to true events affect your perception of the story? Do you think there is something different about a story based on true events?

I was already familiar with many of the events described in the novel--in particular the Russian and European Jewish diaspora in Shanghai during WWII--but I didn't know that there was a Chinese attempt to create a land for the stateless Jewish people. That, together with the description of the nightlife, in particular the jazz clubs, was fascinating.


Posted Jan. 12, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Tired Bookreader

Join Date: 08/19/11

Posts: 83

Expert

RE: Did the novel's fidelity to true events affect your perception of the story? Do you think there is something different about a story based on true events?

Although I had heard parts of this story over the years, I felt the author did an excellent job in presenting these events in a very concise and heartfelt tale. It was a story that will haunt me forever. Many people will hear about this unfamiliar part of the war and encouraged to read the book.


Posted Jan. 13, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Retired Reader, NE

Join Date: 09/16/11

Posts: 165

Expert

RE: Did the novel's fidelity to true events affect your perception of the story? Do you think there is something different about a story based on true events?

Good historical fiction must be based on thorough research. When I am deciding to read a historical fiction book from a new author, I always look at the research notes before making a commitment to the book.


Posted Jan. 13, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
beverlyj

Join Date: 12/22/11

Posts: 58

Expert

RE: Did the novel's fidelity to true events affect your perception of the story? Do you think there is something different about a story based on true events?

I really enjoy historical fiction where real facts propel the plot and the fictional characters makes decisions on these facts. I thought the author did a wonderful job of weaving the historical facts into the storyline. While I knew about the Japanese and their take over of China what I did not know was the extent of the number of Jewish people who found refuge there when escaping Germany and other countries in Europe.

So I am glad the novel stays true to the events.


Posted Jan. 13, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
kimk

Join Date: 10/16/10

Posts: 285

Expert

RE: Did the novel's fidelity to true events affect your perception of the story? Do you think there is something different about a story based on true events?

I think the main reason I read historical fiction is to pick up tidbits of history I hadn't come across before. This one had a TON of information, and not only was a realistic depiction of time, place and events, but I enjoyed the inclusion of real-life individuals as well. I am very impressed with the level of research that went into this novel.


Posted Jan. 15, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
shellyb

Join Date: 07/04/11

Posts: 16

RE: Did the novel's fidelity to true events affect your perception of the story? Do you think there is something different about a story based on true events?

When reading historical fiction, I always want to learn something from the book. If the facts are incorrect or word usage is not used correctly, then it takes something away from the book, for me. So, I think the opposite is true as well. If the story is based on fact, and the reading of the story makes me think about the history of the time. I want to learn more about the time period. I like to see how people lived in other time periods.
This is not to say that I don't like fictionalized stories, but if it is historical, then yes, the basic facts should reflect the true events.


Posted Jan. 15, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
francinee

Join Date: 07/25/14

Posts: 14

RE: Did the novel's fidelity to true events affect your perception of the story? Do you think there is something different about a story based on true events?

I read historical fiction to learn new details about a moment in time unfamiliar to me. I was unaware of the welcome arms of the China toward African Americans and Jewish refugees seeking asylum during WWII.


Posted Jan. 15, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
harriettek

Join Date: 10/19/10

Posts: 34

RE: Did the novel's fidelity to true events affect your perception of the story? Do you think there is something different about a story based on true events?

Sometimes fictionalizing historical events make it easier for the reader to absorb the times. I found that the true story only added to the narrative. I had known about many of the stories including the role of Ho Feng-Shan in saving so many German Jews. The book added much to that knowledge, including the attempted resettlement plans. The novel also personalized the events.


Posted Jan. 16, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
ruthiea

Join Date: 02/03/14

Posts: 86

Expert

RE: Did the novel's fidelity to true events affect your perception of the story? Do you think there is something different about a story based on true events?

I also read and love historical fiction to learn more about events in the past. If the story strays too far from actual events and facts it bothers me, makes it feel as though the true history is not important. An author who can do so much research, take history which some readers may be familiar with and others not at all, and incorporate it into a great and meaningful story is not only talented but doing a great service to history and those lived (or did not) through it.


Posted Jan. 17, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
mal

Join Date: 09/09/13

Posts: 155

Expert

RE: Did the novel's fidelity to true events affect your perception of the story? Do you think there is something different about a story based on true events?

The 'true' events portrayed created a wonderful springboard as the authoress competently demonstrated. I was enthralled with the actual events as well as the characters, quite an eclectic mix marrying well.

True events enhance a reading experience. I enjoy historical events mixed with well penned fiction, a balance appreciated.


Posted Jan. 19, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
melindah

Join Date: 12/25/12

Posts: 48

RE: Did the novel's fidelity to true events affect your perception of the story? Do you think there is something different about a story based on true events?

I do think there is something different about a story based on true events. There is an honesty and depth that is difficult to achieve otherwise. By basing the story on actual events, conducting intense research, and getting to know the time period, the author is able to formulate characters that not only enrich our knowledge, but allow us to feel a part of that place in time. Providing a portal to another time enriches my academic education as well as my ability to understand one more facet of humanity.


Posted Jan. 20, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
christinep

Join Date: 07/16/13

Posts: 31

RE: Did the novel's fidelity to true events affect your perception of the story? Do you think there is something different about a story based on true events?

I love when a story is connected to true events. It makes the storytelling richer and it gives me a reason to find out more about a particular place in time or the world. Its usually the beginning of a mental journey either back in history or to another culture or country.


Posted Jan. 21, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
sherria

Join Date: 04/16/13

Posts: 16

RE: Did the novel's fidelity to true events affect your perception of the story? Do you think there is something different about a story based on true events?

I love when true facts pervade the fiction I read, especially historical. That said, there is a fine line between subtle facts in the background and so many facts in the foreground that the fiction takes on a nonfiction feel. Luckily, Night in Shanghai straddled that rope just fine!


Posted Jan. 22, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
juliaa

Join Date: 12/03/11

Posts: 160

Expert

RE: Did the novel's fidelity to true events affect your perception of the story? Do you think there is something different about a story based on true events?

For me, the fidelity to true events enhanced my enjoyment of the story. Having the historical personages (those whose existence is real) in the story made it possible for me to imagine that Thomas, Lin Ming, and Song could have existed, and people much like them no doubt did exist in the Shanghai of the era. I learned a lot about the pre-World War II era in that part of the world in a much more pleasurable way then I would have by reading a history book.


Posted Jan. 26, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
deborahp

Join Date: 01/15/14

Posts: 3

RE: Did the novel's fidelity to true events affect your perception of the story? Do you think there is something different about a story based on true events?

I have read several true stories about Shanghai which were set in the WWII era. With each book I read I learned a completely new aspect of the city. It truly was multinational . It is interesting when I come across facts that support the narrative in a prior book I read. I find that books based on true events more easily draw the reader in and leave a lasting impression for me.


Posted Mar. 18, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
laurap

Join Date: 06/19/12

Posts: 180

Expert

RE: Did the novel's fidelity to true events affect your perception of the story? Do you think there is something different about a story based on true events?

Melindah hits it on the nose. Really good historical fiction stays as close as possible to "the facts" and uses fictional characters to provide dimension and interpretation to actual events. I think Mones does a terrific job of creating charters that explain their context.


Reply

Please login to post a response.