Sep 16, 2023

Sunday Salon: All the Light We Cannot See; Bernardine's Shanghai Salon

 Sneak preview of Episode 1 - All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr


Early this month, I got an invitation from Goodreads and access from Netflix to watch on Sept. 10 the first episode of AllTheLightWeCannotSee, which is a screen adaptation of Anthony Doerr's Pulitzer Prize winning book.

Episode 1 on Netflix, in my opinion, was completely fabulous - the actors, the setting, costumes, everything... in spite of some negative reviews posted by critics. I'm looking forward to watching all of it in November.

The light we cannot see evidently refers to radio waves, communication that was made over wireless radio to pass on Allied information during WWII in France. The picture above shows Marie-Laure, a blind girl who nevertheless is able to help the war effort in St. Malo. She is on the radio in the picture.

I will have to reread the book to see if or just how much the film has changed the novel. The Netflix 4-episode series starts airing Nov. 2.




My very brief review of All the Light We Cannot See (2015) is here


Currently reading



Bernardine's Shanghai Salon: The Story of the Doyenne of Old China by Susan Blumberg-Kasoff
Publication: November 7, 2023; Post Hill Press, NetGalley
Genre: biography, Shanghai, historical

I've read several historical novels and books about Shanghai just before and during WWII, before and after the Japanese bombed and invaded the city. In Shanghai, Europeans and other Westerners lived cocooned and safe in the International Settlement, an enclave restricted to Europeans. This is another book that describes the social life and variety of people in Shanghai, including White Russian refugees escaping Communism and European Jews escaping Hitler's persecution.

I've just started the book, following Bernardine as she arrives in Manchuria and Shanghai to get married to Chester Fritz, a long time resident of the city.

Publisher's description:


Meet the Jewish salon host in 1930s Shanghai who brought together Chinese and expats around the arts as civil war erupted and World War II loomed on the horizon.

Bernardine Szold Fritz arrived in Shanghai in 1929 to marry her fourth husband. Only thirty-three years old, she found herself in a time and place like no other. Political intrigue and scandal lurked on every street corner. Art Deco cinemas showed the latest Hollywood flicks, while dancehall owners and jazz musicians turned Shanghai into Asia’s top nightlife destination. She introduced Emily Hahn, the charismatic opium-smoking writer for The New Yorker, to the flamboyant hotelier Sir Victor Sassoon and legendary poet Sinmay Zau. And when Hollywood stars Anna May Wong, Charlie Chaplin, and Claudette Colbert passed through Shanghai, Bernardine organized gatherings to introduce them to their Shanghai contemporaries.

She started a salon in her home, drawing famous names from the world of politics, the arts, and the intelligentsia. As civil war brewed and World War II soon followed, Bernardine’s devotion to the arts and the people of Shanghai brought joy to the city just before it would change forever.

What's on your reading schedule this week and/or the rest of the month?injuly202

Memes: The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated BookreviewerAlso,  It's Monday: What Are You Readingand Sunday SalonStacking the ShelvesMailbox Monday


24 comments:

  1. I love books set in China so I am gonna need to read Bernadine's Shanghai Salon.

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  2. I must check out the series based on Doerr's book. I did love the book.

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  3. I’ve read several memoirs about life in international Shanghai before and during World War II, and they were really fascinating. I’m not surprised that it would tempt modern historical writers.
    best, mae at maefood.blogspot.com

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  4. I am going to check if this book is avaliable in Turkish or not...

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  5. If you're interested in Shanghai between the wars I can recommend 'Empire Made Me – An Englishman Adrift in Shanghai' by Robert Bickers. My review is here:

    https://cyberkittenspot.blogspot.com/2021/06/just-finished-reading-empire-made-me.html

    I'll be starting 'Living with Buildings and Walking with Ghosts - On Health and Architecture' by Iain Sinclair tomorrow. Following that is 'Dauntless' by Alan Evans.

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  6. Both of those sound like terrific WWII stories. Thanks!

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  7. I would like to read the book about Shanghai, that location and time period fascinates me.

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  8. Glad you liked All the Light We Cannot See so much.

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  9. Shanghai- fascinating era. Tintin's Blue Lotus by Herge is a fascinating look as well, during that time, in a European graphic novel POV. /

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  10. Thank you for an interesting post

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  11. I look forward to seeing All the Light We Cannot See when it airs later this year. I thought the book was very well done. I will share this with others who I know loved the book.

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  12. I've read All the Light We Cannot See and did like the book. I'm interested to see how they adapt it for this series.

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  13. I really didn't care much for the book, but I always suspected it would make a really good movie. I can't wait to see this based on your reaction to it.

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  14. I am glad you enjoyed the movie adaptation. Have a good week and Happy Reading!

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  15. I don't have Netflix but I'll look for a way to see All the Light We Cannot See someday.
    Mary @Bookfan

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  16. I did not realize All the Light We Cannot See had been adapted. Glad to hear it was done so well!

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  17. I've never read All the Light We Cannot See. I'm glad you are enjoying the adaptation. I'm still mostly plugging away at my stack of review books. Come see my week here. Happy reading!

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  18. I will have to keep my eye out on the Netflix series. Sounds wonderful. Hope you enjoy your week.

    https://thebookconnectionccm.blogspot.com/2023/09/its-monday-what-are-you-reading-and_0318831224.html

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  19. I would has to read All the Light We can not See for the Netflix series.
    Have a great week.

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  20. I love All the Light We Cannot See. It was such a great book. It was one of the last War Through The Generations Read-alongs we had: https://warthroughthegenerations.wordpress.com/tag/all-the-light-we-cannot-see/

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  21. I have so enjoyed the book that I'll probably stay away from the movie, preferring to keep my own inner images. I know, am weird when visual is concerned

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  22. Thanks for your dedication and hard work in writing this blog

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  23. Wow the Shanghai book looks good. She was married for the 4th time before her 33rd bday? I have made it half way into the history Last Boat Out of Shanghai by Helen Zia ... and think the Shanghai WWII story is so tragic ! I have the Anthony Doerr novel ... but we no longer get Netflix but we might need to pick it up again ... to see this series.

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