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7 Remote Warehouse Literature- A to Z
9 Remote Warehouse Literature- A to Z

A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers

by

A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers Cover

 

 

Reading Group Guide

1. A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers is written in steadily improving English vocabulary and grammar. Why do you think the author chose to write the novel in this way? How does Z's learning of the English language mirror Z's personal growth?

2. From the opening pages, Z's story is funny and charming, full of humorous observations about Western culture as well as amusing grammatical mistakes. Yet, as the story progresses, we also see that Z's journey is filled with many poignant moments of sadness and deep longing as she struggles to overcome her vulnerabilities. On the whole, which parts of the story stay with you most by the end of the book?

3. Z falls in love instantly and becomes dependent on a man who is starkly different from herself. Discuss their differences and how her dependency may be more attributed to her effort to want to fit in than to her loneliness? Alternatively, why do you think he—a confirmed bachelor—lets her move in? Is he intrigued by her “exoticism” or do you think that he loves her?

4. Her lover persuades Z to travel around the continent alone. She's reluctant but he tells her she needs to “find herself.” He's hiding the truth that what he really wants is a break from her and the relationship. Do you think Z is aware of this? When she is in Portugal, she goes off quite impulsively with a Portuguese man who seemingly traps her in a sexual encounter. Do you think this is Z's ultimate act of independence or defiance, or do you believe that there is a sense of violence in the act?

5. “Privacy” and “individuality” are completely new and foreign concepts to Z who's coming from China where the collective and collectivization are preeminent. Discuss how she comes to grasp their meanings.

6. Z was a young child during the Cultural Revolution, yet her observations are politically acute. She refers to passages in Mao's Little Red Book. She says: “In West, Mao's words work for me, though they not work in China now.” What do you think she means?

7. Do you think the author wrote the novel more for Western or for Chinese readers who may see themselves in some of Z's experiences? Do you find many of Z's feelings and observations about love and life to be universal?

8. In literature and film, do you believe Westerners tend to romanticize the East, drawing more on China's ancient past of emperors and concubines and traditional ceremony? In what ways do we see a very different China through Z's eyes?

Product Details

ISBN:
9780307278401
Author:
Guo, Xiaolu
Publisher:
Anchor Books
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
English language
Subject:
Intercultural communication
Subject:
Love stories
Subject:
Humorous fiction
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
fiction;china;london;england;romance;language;love;novel;chinese literature;orange prize;travel;relationships;21st century;immigrants;chinese fiction;literary fiction;sex;english;immigration;sexuality;culture clash;uk
Subject:
fiction;china;london;england;romance;language;love;novel;chinese literature;orange prize;travel;relationships;21st century;immigrants;chinese fiction;literary fiction;sex;english;immigration;orange prize shortlist;sexuality;culture clash;uk
Subject:
fiction;china;london;england;romance;language;love;novel;chinese literature;orange prize;travel;relationships;21st century;immigrants;chinese fiction;literary fiction;sex;english;immigration;orange prize shortlist;sexuality;culture clash;uk
Subject:
fiction;china;london;england;romance;language;love;novel;chinese literature;orange prize;travel;relationships;21st century;immigrants;chinese fiction;literary fiction;sex;english;immigration;orange prize shortlist;sexuality;culture clash;uk
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20080631
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
304
Dimensions:
8.03x5.23x.67 in. .50 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers New Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$15.95 In Stock
Product details 304 pages Anchor Books - English 9780307278401 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

The voice in this melancholy novel is that of an honest Chinese girl who is trying to learn English and who happens to be seeking the meaning of love. Written from the first-person perspective in an English-as-her-second-language vernacular, A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers follows Zhuang's emotional and grammatical evolution as she explains her feelings to the London man with whom she falls in love.

"Review" by , "A fast, breezy read, don't be so easily entertained as to miss the many nuances — beyond the most obvious definitions are deeper, more satisfying meanings."
"Review" by , "Xiaolu Guo is a fabulous writer, fresh, witty, and intelligent. She handles language in an astonishing way. I don't think I have enjoyed a book as much in the last twelve months."
"Review" by , "Funny, childlike and wise all at once."
"Review" by , "What makes this novel winsome is hearing the authentic voice of a young woman — bewildered, self-deprecating, funny, wise &mdashl; as she navigates the world on her own."
"Review" by , "Endearing....Concise takes us into a new territory, all the more exciting for its virginity."
"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 and the narration acquires fluency and tenses almost imperceptibly — it is equally hard not to be impressed by Guo's vivacious talent." (London)
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