Decoded

Decoded

Book - 2014
Average Rating:
3
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A top secret counterespionage and code breaking unit recruits an autistic math genius who discovers his former teacher and best friend is working for the enemy.
"One of China's bestselling novels, an unusual literary thriller that takes us deep into the world of code breaking In his gripping debut novel, Mai Jia reveals the mysterious world of Unit 701, a top-secret Chinese intelligence agency whose sole purpose is counterespionage and code breaking. Rong Jinzhen, an autistic math genius with a past shrouded in myth, is forced to abandon his academic pursuits when he is recruited into Unit 701. As China's greatest cryptographer, Rong discovers that the mastermind behind the maddeningly difficult Purple Code is his former teacher and best friend, who is now working for China's enemy--but this is only the first of many betrayals. Brilliantly combining the mystery and tension of a spy thriller with the psychological nuance of an intimate character study and the magical qualities of a Chinese fable, Decoded discovers in cryptography the key to the human heart. Both a riveting mystery and a metaphysical examination of the mind of an inspired genius, it is the first novel to be published in English by one of China's greatest and most popular contemporary writers"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2014.
Edition: First American edition.
ISBN: 9780374135805
0374135800
Characteristics: 315 pages ; 24 cm
Alternative Title: Jie mi

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gerimark
Sep 18, 2015

Interesting in that it deals w/ horrific conditions that exist in North Korea.

j
JLMason
Apr 08, 2014

This book is worth a read for multiple reasons: Chinese history, language as it reflects a culture, and a good story.
This is the first book I have read that is a translation from Chinese. I assume that the translator has tried to maintain how something is expressed in Chinese when rendering it into English as I found the phrasing, name epithets, and repetition of ideas interesting and quite different from, say, English translations from European languages. Chinese history and culture form a subtext that drives characters' behaviours and the plot. For example, the multi-generational history of the protagonist's family takes up at least a quarter of the book before he is even introduced as it is important to understand where he comes from. The story is interesting. It unfolds slowly at its own pace, but is never dull. An appreciation of mathematics will add to one's enjoyment of the book, but is not necessary.

aemacleod Apr 02, 2014

Enjoyable, accessible story. It reads cinematically, almost like a screenplay, and I couldn't help but think of films like "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" and "Hero" as I read, especially towards the end. The book is philosophically heavy handed at times, and it's obviously written for a nationalist audience, but the story is strong and the picture the author paints of recent Chinese culture kept me turning the pages.

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