The two protagonists hail from different cultures and reach their adulthood. In due course of the novel, the soldier falls in love with the eponymous girl. However, their world of amorous dreams is at loggerheads with the harsh reality of a warzone. As the Japanese army advances towards the city, their game breaks up with neither player being the victor. The author brings out the agony of the girl and even the troubled soldier in the course of the novel. They become the hapless victims of the dreads of the war and lose their lives like gazillion other young people like them who are challenged with the trauma and jeopardy of war which brings nothing but destruction as the ultimate outcome.
Thus, the author brings out the futility and brutality of violence and bloodshed in stark juxtaposition to a blossoming love story which never reaches its prime owing to the problematic scenario of the time. Shan Sa establishes her literary expertise in her touching piece of work which lingers in the minds of the avid readers.
Cheuse, Alan. “The Girl Who Played Go, Shan Sa.” World Literature Today 79.3/4 (2005):15.