At eighteen, Anna is in limbo. She has decisions to make but stalls for time. Deferring her university studies in Australia, she visits her father in Shanghai. In an exotic environment, her life seems both better and worse: she loves learning Chinese painting but can’t cope with being a foreigner, or with the chaos and heat of the city.
Then the last thing she could have imagined happens: she falls in love with Chenxi, a young, mysterious fellow painter whose secret life in art and counter-revolutionary activities fascinates Anna. Their affair is passionate and fraught.
Sally Rippin writes with a natural flair and an insider’s voice about the torment of a teenager on the verge of adulthood. She evokes the thrills and spills of being a foreigner in the topsy-turvy world of China.
Chenxi is a remarkable novel for young adults that confronts adolescent sexual experience, pregnancy and cross-cultural questions in an extraordinarily vivid and compelling story.
‘I have read this book three times. I just love it. Chenxi, Anna and Laurent are uncannily real. They’ve become part of my life.’