A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers heralds the American debut of a remarkably gifted young writer.
Twenty-three-year-old Zhuang, the daughter of shoe factory owners in rural China, has come to London to study English. She calls herself Z because English people can’t pronounce her name, but she’s no better at their language. Set loose to find her way through a confusion of cultural gaffes and grammatical mishaps, she winds up lodging with a Chinese family and thinks she might as well not have left home. But then she meets an English man who changes everything. From the moment he smiles at her, she enters a new world of sex, freedom, and self-discovery. But she also realizes that, in the West, “love” does not always mean the same as in China, and that you can learn all the words in the English language and still not understand your lover.
Drawing on her diaries from when she first arrived in the UK, Xiaolu Guo winningly writes the story in steadily improving English grammar and vocabulary. Freshly humorous, sexy, and poignant, A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers is an utterly original novel about language, identity, and the cultural divide.
Xiaolu Guo was born in 1973 in a fishing village in south China. She studied film at Beijing Film Academy, worked as a screenwriter and film teacher as well as writing several books in Chinese. Xiaolu moved to London in 2002 where she began a diary written in English which became the seed for the novel A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers. Village of Stone, a novel first published in China, appeared in English translation in 2004.
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