1945 in Japanese occupied Shanghai, and the equivocal status of the Eurasian provides a first novel of considerable sensibility and searing revelation- certainly for Sylvia Chen who at twenty knows only the fragmentation of several worlds- and an identity with none. She belongs to a group which is politically liberal, foreign, or like herself- of mixed blood; the Jastrows who are Jewish, Robert Bruno who is Swiss, Larry Casement who is Irish, and Mimi Lambert and Feng Huang- Eurasian. Mimi, impulsive, childish, passionate- but rarely thoughtful, falls in love with Robert, knows all the volupte and excitement of a first affair which ends in her rejection when Robert's fear of his father is stronger than his love for her. She loses his child, and goes on the streets to seek ""promiscuity as a mortification"". Sylvia, who wears Chinese or European clothes alternately, ""jockeying her dissatisfaction with herself in each"", thinks she has found the answer to her ambivalence in Feng Huang who is in turn fractious and restless. He tries to induct her into the cause which may provide a purpose- Chinese Communism- is responsible for the death of her cousin, and it is then that she breaks with him.... Certainly not an easy book to place, but the increasing interest in old barriers and new frontiers in other parts of the world (cf. Kamala Markandaya)- offers a potential. Diana Cheng has handled her people, and possibly herself, with much of the same suggestive awareness.