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1 Burnside Literature- A to Z

A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers

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A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers Cover

ISBN13: 9780385520294
ISBN10: 0385520298
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
All Product Details

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Review-A-Day

"In the last 20 years, the proliferation of Asian writers in Europe and the Americas has grown into a lovely chorus of voices, opening our eyes to the lives of people and cultures we've only known from a distance. Xiaolu Guo's debut English-language novel takes us a step further into the complicated landscape of the immigrant experience." Gail Tsukiyama, Ms. Magazine (read the entire Ms. Magazine review)

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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.

Review:

"'A young woman from rural China learns how to comprehend 'love' and 'heartbreak' in English in this quirky, touching novel. Zhuang, or 'Z' to tongue-tied foreigners, arrives in London at age 23 after being dispatched by her parents to get an education. Her immersion and painful education are laid bare to readers, who witness Z's vocabulary, grammar and understanding blossom throughout her diarylike account, sped along by an intense romance with a man met at the cinema. Her consuming love begins promisingly, but her failure to interpret her lover's lifestyle as a hippie drifter (who's 20 years her senior) alerts readers to potential trouble in paradise, even while such a notion remains beyond Z's not-yet-jaded imagination. The novel overflows with gentle jokes about culture shock and language barriers including Z's inability to understand why Brits bother talking about the weather when it's obvious — but there are deeper observations beneath the humor. Z's comically earnest exploration of a sex shop illuminates the pathos of Western seediness, and her encounters with men reveal both the exploitative and meaningful sides of romance. Z's unique, evolving voice fits perfectly for a heroine whose navet is matched by a willingness to relay the truth. (Sept.)' Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers is original, humorous, and wise. Within imperfect language one can find many perfect truths of the human condition. The misunderstandings are really the understandings of the differences of the heart between men and women." Amy Tan

Review:

"Funny and charming...more than a love story; its psychology is politically acute, and things noted lightly in it linger in the mind." The Guardian (London)

Review:

"A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers cleverly courts our assumptions about the chasm between Chinese and Western cultures, only to upend them. It is an utterly captivating, and disorientating, journey both through language and through love." The Independent (London)

Review:

"It is impossible not to be charmed by Xiaolu Guo's matter-of-factness. As A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers grows in complexity with [the main character's] growing vocabulary — the narration acquires fluency and tenses almost imperceptibly — it is equally hard not to be impressed by Guo's vivacious talent." Sunday Times (London)

Review:

"While Dictionary initially seems a fast, breezy read, don't be so easily entertained as to miss the many nuances. Just like the single-word entry markers, beyond the most obvious definitions are deeper, more satisfying meanings." San Francisco Chronicle

Review:

"How many times has the shoe been on the other foot? How many times have we read accounts of the Western gaze on the Eastern native? Countless, if I were to hazard a guess. It's just that this time the gaze is inverted, and it takes us into a new territory, all the more exciting for its virginity." Chicago Sun-Times

Review:

"An engrossing tale written with the novel approach of having the narrator's English growing increasingly better as the book progresses." Library Journal

Synopsis:

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 cant pronounce her name, but shes 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.

About the Author

Xiaolu Guo was born in 1973. After graduating from the Beijing Film Academy, she published a number of books in China. Since 2002, she has been dividing her time between London and Beijing.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

L81ker, March 10, 2008 (view all comments by L81ker)
I read this book on a flight from UK to Finland. I work internationally and my wife is Singaporean. I was born and studied in Cambridge, and met many overseas students...

I enjoyed the opening of the book, it's exactly how I have felt going in the other direction and how I imagined it must be like to come to London the first time. The female perspective is a new one, and I guess that's what I enjoyed most of all!

As the book proceeds with its story, Xiaolu succeeds in sharing all the emotions and stresses in a wonderful myriad of english language accidents and misdemeaners. These are humourous, but give an endearing quality to the character. It's easy to fall in love with Xiaolu's 'Z' and to empathise!

The ending, very timely with the Beijing olympics forthcoming, is written in a cleverly timeless way. Although I've read the book before the olympics, this ending will still work 'looking back', the story won't age.

I really enjoyed this, partly because of my own circumstances in life, but mainly because it really is a great book!

I look forward to 'Volume 2' if Ms Guo gets time to create it!

Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(5 of 8 readers found this comment helpful)

Product Details

ISBN:
9780385520294
Subtitle:
A Novel
Author:
Guo, Xiaolu
Publisher:
Nan A. Talese
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
English language
Subject:
Intercultural communication
Copyright:
Publication Date:
20070904
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
304
Dimensions:
8.56x6.30x1.03 in. 1.01 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers Used Hardcover
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$4.95 In Stock
Product details 304 pages Nan A. Talese - English 9780385520294 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "'A young woman from rural China learns how to comprehend 'love' and 'heartbreak' in English in this quirky, touching novel. Zhuang, or 'Z' to tongue-tied foreigners, arrives in London at age 23 after being dispatched by her parents to get an education. Her immersion and painful education are laid bare to readers, who witness Z's vocabulary, grammar and understanding blossom throughout her diarylike account, sped along by an intense romance with a man met at the cinema. Her consuming love begins promisingly, but her failure to interpret her lover's lifestyle as a hippie drifter (who's 20 years her senior) alerts readers to potential trouble in paradise, even while such a notion remains beyond Z's not-yet-jaded imagination. The novel overflows with gentle jokes about culture shock and language barriers including Z's inability to understand why Brits bother talking about the weather when it's obvious — but there are deeper observations beneath the humor. Z's comically earnest exploration of a sex shop illuminates the pathos of Western seediness, and her encounters with men reveal both the exploitative and meaningful sides of romance. Z's unique, evolving voice fits perfectly for a heroine whose navet is matched by a willingness to relay the truth. (Sept.)' Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review A Day" by , "In the last 20 years, the proliferation of Asian writers in Europe and the Americas has grown into a lovely chorus of voices, opening our eyes to the lives of people and cultures we've only known from a distance. Xiaolu Guo's debut English-language novel takes us a step further into the complicated landscape of the immigrant experience." (read the entire Ms. Magazine review)
"Review" by , "A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers is original, humorous, and wise. Within imperfect language one can find many perfect truths of the human condition. The misunderstandings are really the understandings of the differences of the heart between men and women."
"Review" by , "Funny and charming...more than a love story; its psychology is politically acute, and things noted lightly in it linger in the mind." (London)
"Review" by , "A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers cleverly courts our assumptions about the chasm between Chinese and Western cultures, only to upend them. It is an utterly captivating, and disorientating, journey both through language and through love." (London)
"Review" by , "It is impossible not to be charmed by Xiaolu Guo's matter-of-factness. As A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers grows in complexity with [the main character's] growing vocabulary — the narration acquires fluency and tenses almost imperceptibly — it is equally hard not to be impressed by Guo's vivacious talent." (London)
"Review" by , "While Dictionary initially seems a fast, breezy read, don't be so easily entertained as to miss the many nuances. Just like the single-word entry markers, beyond the most obvious definitions are deeper, more satisfying meanings."
"Review" by , "How many times has the shoe been on the other foot? How many times have we read accounts of the Western gaze on the Eastern native? Countless, if I were to hazard a guess. It's just that this time the gaze is inverted, and it takes us into a new territory, all the more exciting for its virginity."
"Review" by , "An engrossing tale written with the novel approach of having the narrator's English growing increasingly better as the book progresses."
"Synopsis" by , 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 cant pronounce her name, but shes 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.

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