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Book of the Month - December 2011, 圈子圈套


imron
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Thank you very much edelweis.

I'm however not able to find the book as you have it online. For example the few sites that have the last sentence of chapter 18, don't have the first sentence of chapter 18.

The first sentence of chapter 18 can however be found on other sides, but typically in the middle of chapter 15. I think I'll read the last chapters from http://book.kanunu.org/files/chinese/201106/2936.html

I read somewhere that the author originally posted this book on his blog and only a couple of years later it was published as a book on popular request. Probably then he made some changes which explains why the book version is so difficult to find online.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I've finally finished the third book. Since the screen of my kindle stopped working the first day I was on vacation, it took me more time than originally expected :-(

When I started reading I didn't like the book. If imron haven't recommend it, I'd probably wouldn't have finished the first chapter. However while reading it, the story become more and more interesting, and the level was quite appropriate for me (I don't like to look up words while reading).

I guess my next book will be雪山飞狐》 but from looking at the first page it is immediately clear that it won't go that smoothly (withing consulting a dictionary)...

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It might take a bit of time to pick up a bunch of extra Wuxia vocab, but once you get past that it will hopefully be easier. If you get 10 pages in and finding you need to look up too many new words on a page, I would recommend switching books and coming back to 《雪山飞狐》。

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Wuxia is always hairy in the beginning. If you feel that you can read something like this BOTM without too much trouble and without a dictionary, then it might be worth a shot.

It's always hard when you start, but it does get easier after about 100 pages, in my experience, but you need to get used to the style and vocab first.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I'm late at the party but, hey, I'm reading this book too (I'm in chapter 14, book I). As it seems that reading 圈子圈套 has become a kind of rite of passage, I thought I'd mention it...

Some potentially more useful information:

I've been reading the electronic and paper versions in parallel and, as already noted in posts #61 and #82, I confirm that they diverge quite a lot starting from ch. 13. A quick glance at the following chapters shows that the two versions are quite different after that point. I've been unable to find an online electronic text that is similar to the paper version.

I also confirm that this is a great text for intermediate level students: there are quite a lot of difficult parts, a dictionary is definitely necessary, there are probably many bits that I did not fully understand, but the novel can be read relatively fast (in my case, it took me 2 months to read about 2 thirds of the book; strange as it may seem, I consider that as a victory) and it is an enjoyable ride, the work does not spoil the fun.

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I just started reading this book! I'm on chapter 4 now. I don't think it starts out very well, but it does get a little more interesting by chapter 2. I don't think this is the kind of book I would normally gravitate towards but after finishing a really tough book I'm happy to take it easy for a while. Will probably see this through to the end, although I likely won't seek out the sequels.

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  • 5 months later...

Now reading this book and greatly enjoying it. A new plot twist in every chapter, clever people setting up clever ruses on every page, and lots of good vocab. And what a fantastic bad guy is Yu Wei. I'm now on chapter 8 and

he has managed to fuck over absolutely everyone, with the notable exception of Peter (and Linda and Xiao Tan, but perhaps he'll get around to Linda soon). Now perhaps Hezhi will cancel the contract with Keman, I wonder if Yu plans to do the whole deal all over again but now with ICE software, and I wonder if he believes Hezhi will be willing to deal with him after what he did.

What a great villain. From what I read in this thread he'll get his comeuppance, I hope I'll enjoy his fall as much as I do his rise.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Just finished 圈子圈套, that was my second fastest read ever. The ending was a bit more tame than the first half, but still this is a nice book. There were a few plotlines left dangling, it seemed: that email that Hong Jun got so very angry about didn't seem to have any ill effect in the end, and his unexpected trip to Shanghai doesn't actually cause any problems either. Kirk is very much a deus ex machina. Things got resolved a little too easily in the end, a bit more plotting and scheming on Fan Yuzhou's side would have been entertaining. It's a bit strange that Yu Wei, who is on top of absolutely everything in the beginning, in the end has no clue who screwed him over. Well, I suppose nobody can know everything all the time.

The portrayal of women, while not outstanding, was a lot better than in a number of other books I've read recently. It would be nice if there had been a few more female characters with a bit more to do, but at least everyone was judged for their professional performance and not just for whether or not the main character wanted to fuck them. And the guys who do think like that are the bad guys, which is a bit simple, but still nice to see.

But Hong Jun's love life is a bit of a mess, really. Not learning a thing from the Linda debacle, he just gets with the next underling who throws herself at him. Sure, she seems sincere, but we don't really know and Hong Jun has even less of a clue. In addition, the man doesn't seem to have any friends, or family, or parents.

Not sure if I want to read part 2 right away, but I might read it later.

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  • 3 months later...

Yesterday I finished 圈子圈套3 (reading was interrupted in April and May due to work and starting another book).

Funny how the first volume seemed completely foreign to me in late 2011 but gradually I started recognizing similarities with my job as the RL atmosphere worsened significantly in 2012, and also events in the last book echo things that happen in multinational companies worldwide, not only in China.

The merger sarcasm was really funny - as humour noir. And the fact that some rumours had circulated about it, believed by the customer to the point of adding a special clause about such a case, but not by the people in the companies that were about to merge, was especially well done and lifelike.

I might read these books again in the future after learning more vocabulary.

PS: I also liked the author's note at the end of the 3rd book :mrgreen:

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  • 9 months later...

Took me two years to read the first half of book 1 and two weeks to read the second half. I think that speaks less to my rapid reading progress and more (all) to the discovery of Pleco reader, and using Imron's Chinese Text Analyser software to streamline the vocab-gathering chore.

 

Although I thought the ending was a bit lame -- I would like to have seen more tussling with the baddie -- I'll probably start the second book before too long, nice to see some people say it's better than the first book. Hunger Games first though I think, presumably at a similar level. Maybe listen to the 圈子圈套 audio too.

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Right of passage?  I had never even heard of this book before a random click on the link to here.

 

I guess I'll read this next, after I finish 士兵突击, or maybe even concurrently (since this will be online vs the 士兵突击 hardcopy book)

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  • 3 years later...

I read part 2 (finished over a month ago). It wasn't as good as I remember part 1 as being: there wasn't really one overarching story, just a series of problems that promised to be really big and then were resolved with a few paragraphs, or perhaps a chapter, of smart management. Or sometimes they were just resolved in the background. When 小薛 is sent to Germany, the problem he encounters is built up beautifully, and you feel like OMG now he's really and truly in big, career- and life-changing trouble, but it's all resolved with a few wise words by 洪钧 (and then later on we hear that in fact he caused some more problems, that are never described as they happen, just after the fact, and then quickly resolved). All in all it felt a bit too much like a collection of storified management anecdotes rather than a novel.

 

Something I liked that I didn't notice in part 1, probably because my Chinese wasn't at that level when I read it: all the characters from other places have an accent. Roger speaks in Shanghainese Mandarin, the guy in Taiwan uses Taiwanese 啊s and 啦s, etc. It was really cool to notice that the author put that in there.

 

I read it in six weeks or so, was going along at a steady 10+ pages a day until I had a weekend with no time for reading, fell behind and took longer than planned to finish. Still a pretty fast read.

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  • 3 years later...

I just finished 圈子圈套 2, and 洪钧 leveled up too much.  He's so over-powered he doesn't  run into much trouble anymore.  In book 1, at least he gets knocked around in the first half of the book. 

 

I found the segments with 邓汶 (PhD friend of 洪钧 who returned to China from America) and 小薛 (the newbie) more interesting because they were still acted like a fish out of water.  They bumbled around and got in themselves in bad situations.  In contrast, 洪钧 is written like 诸葛亮, and a few instructions from him is enough to solve almost every situation. 

 

Spoiler

One scenario reminds me of the 3 kingdoms chapter --- with 邓汶 desolate, 洪钧 makes an international phone call and summons the rain.

 

The only character who is a bit of a "match" with 洪钧 is 范宇宙,but their tussle is too brief.  俞威 is still around but only scores glancing blows on 洪钧. 

 

It's only when you get to the end that 洪钧 might finally get into trouble because of Kirke the Australian boss and other 老外. 

 

It's hard to tell overall if 洪钧 is doing better than 俞威 (as of the end of book2).  洪钧 is certainly a nicer guy and seems to be a better problem solver.  But I get impression 俞威's company is bigger and he manages to play the 老外 like a fiddle, while 洪钧 does not, and that's enough to counter 洪钧.  I wonder what other people's impressions are.

 

Language-wise, I found it slightly harder than Book 1, but not too much.  On the plus side, it seems to have even more modern office / business vocab to harvest.  I'll be reading Book 3 after a few other books in the pipeline.

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