A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers
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Language and love collide in this inventive novel of a young Chinese woman's journey to the West and her attempts to understand the language, and the man, she adores.Zhuang – or “Z,” to tongue-tied foreigners – has come to London to study English, but finds herself adrift, trapped in a cycle of cultural gaffes and grammatical mishaps. Then she meets an Englishman who changes everything, leading her into a world of self-discovery. She soon 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. And as the novel progresses with steadily improving grammar and vocabulary, Z's evolving voice makes her quest for comprehension all the more poignant. With sparkling wit, Xiaolu Guo has created an utterly original novel about identity and the cultural divide.
say: “Growing a vegetable and seeing it grow is more interesting than anything else. It’s magic. Don’t you agree?” Yes. Is interesting. But in China, is just for peasant. Every person can do this, nothing special for growing food. Why so different here? Then we see some little leafs come out but are bitten by the slug. “It’s dangerous that the slugs keep eating the small sprouts. They can die really easily,” you tell me. Carrying with flashlight, every night, around 11 o’clock, you sneek
sharp for eyes, black ink too weak to read. When I look at the dictionary, every word is blurred. The optician in London told me the power of my short eyesight is growing, getting worse. They said I can’t do laser surgery because my corneal are too thin. Will my future is a world of blurness? I look out of the window. I can see the black clouds at the bottom of the dark sky, and I can see the dim lights in somebody’s house which is not far away from this hotel, and the shadow of trees by the
of his jeans. There is a hole underneath the pocket. “I just lost fifty euros,” he says, with a worried tone. I look at him. His face is covered by emptiness and vagueness. I think of what he just said. He was quite cool before, or say half an hour ago. Now he becomes very weak, suddenly. When I met him, I thought he was just a normal local man having espresso in a café. I thought he was just as simple and happy as the weather in Portugal. But now I don’t know what to feel anymore. “Now I
like a bird, the symbol of high virtue. Winter is such a long season in England. Hackney Road is dim, dark, wet and obscure. But there is something extra which makes you and me nervous about this time. Neither you nor me kind of person likes celebrating festivals, plus I don’t have any family here. Outside, neon lights are twinkling, shining like the fragile happiness. Almost a year has passed. In the beginning, we were so passionate about each other. Now everything grows older, and covered by
decide not living in the towns and society, but living in the nature, living with the sea and the mountain and the forest. So there will be no more social struggle to you anymore. So you can achieve peace. You talk slow and walk slow, you let the time pass by you, because you don’t want to be in a race. So you won’t lose, in the end. And here it comes to the fate. I met you; a man was born in the year of Rat. A rat never has a stable home, like me, born the year of the goat. Two unstable