In 1936, classical pianist Thomas Greene is recruited to Shanghai to lead a jazz orchestra of fellow African-American expats. From being flat broke in segregated Baltimore to living in a mansion with servants of his own, he becomes the toast of a city obsessed with music, money, pleasure, and power, even as it ignores the rising winds of war.
Song Yuhua is refined and educated, and has been bonded since age eighteen to Shanghai's most powerful crime boss in payment for her father's gambling debts. Outwardly submissive, she burns with rage and risks her life spying on her master for the Communist Party.
Only when Shanghai is shattered by the Japanese invasion do Song and Thomas find their way to each other. Though their union is forbidden, neither can back down from it in the turbulent years of occupation and resistance that follow. Torn between music and survival, freedom and commitment, love and world war, they are borne on an irresistible riff of melody and improvisation to "Night in Shanghai"'s final, impossible choice.
In this stunningly researched novel, Nicole Mones not only tells the forgotten story of black musicians in the Chinese jazz age, but also weaves in a startling true tale of Holocaust heroism little-known in the West.
About the Author
NICOLE MONES is the author of the New York Times Notable Book Lost in Translation and A Cup of Light. She started a textile business in China at the end of the Cultural Revolution and ran it for eighteen years, and she brings to her fiction writing an in-depth understanding of China and its culture. Mones is a frequent contributor to Gourmet magazine, which ran an excerpt of The Last Chinese Chef--marking the first time Gourmet has ever published fiction in its pages. She lives in Portland, Oregon.
Emily Woo Zeller is a performing artist and yogi currently based in New York City. Her voice-over career includes work in animated film and television in Southeast Asia. She has also worked as an actor, singer, dancer, and choreographer on stage throughout the United States and Southeast Asia. When not in the studio or on stage, Emily is a yoga teacher with a focus on holistic approaches to health. She holds a degree from the University of California, Berkeley.