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A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers

(1)
S hortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction
Twenty-three-year-old Zhuang (or Z as she calls herself - Westerners cannot pronounce her name) arrives in London to spend a year learning English. Struggling to find her way in the city, and through the puzzles of tense, verb and adverb; she falls for an older Englishman and begins to realise that the landscape of love is an even trickier terrain...
Xiaolu Guo was named as one of Granta's Best of Young British Novelists
Rezension
"Written in deliberately bad English, this is a wonderful comic romance" Eileen Battersby Irish Times
Portrait
Xiaolu Guo was born in south China. She studied film at the Beijing Film Academy and published six books in China before she moved to London in 2002. The English translation of Village of Stone was shortlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize and nominated for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. Her first novel written in English, A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers was shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction, and 20 Fragments of a Ravenous Youth, published in 2008, was longlisted for the Man Asian Literary Prize. Xiaolu's film career continues to flourish; her feature, She, A Chinese, was released in 2009 and her documentary Once Upon a Time Proletarian has been screened at international film festivals such as Venice and Toronto Film Festivals. I Am China is her most recent novel. In 2013 she was named as one of Granta's Best of Young British Novelists.
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Einband Taschenbuch
Seitenzahl 368
Erscheinungsdatum 03.01.2008
Sprache Englisch
ISBN 978-0-09-950147-3
Verlag Vintage Publishing
Maße (L/B/H) 197/130/22 mm
Gewicht 300
Buch (Taschenbuch, Englisch)
9,99
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Some romances never last, especially these with cultural differences
von Katja Kaygin aus Hamburg / Oberhausen am 22.05.2008

The protagonist in this book is called shortly Z, because she has an unmentionable name such as Zhuang Xiao Quiao. Probably the author Xiaolu Guo knows pretty well what she has written about, because also her name is not easy to spell. Z is 23 when she came over... The protagonist in this book is called shortly Z, because she has an unmentionable name such as Zhuang Xiao Quiao. Probably the author Xiaolu Guo knows pretty well what she has written about, because also her name is not easy to spell. Z is 23 when she came over from Beijing in China to London in the UK. She can't speak any English and she has never been to the West before. Therefor the book starts in pretty dreadful English and every chapter has a specific heading such as in a dictionary. There are very funny scenes in the book for example when Z arrives in London: "Sign in front of queue say: ALIEN and NON ALIEN. I am alien, like Hollywood films Alien, I live in another planet, with funny looking and strange language." I found it funny because I nearly had the same thoughts about that word alien when I was pretty young and flying over to England for the first time. Learning English, Z discovers more and more strange things in the English language, for example the gender definition (Everyone must do his best), which she comments (in her bad English): Always talking about mans, no womans. And Z has problems living in London: The weather is bad, she can't understand much and there is no-one in this country she knows. It doesn't take long and she falls in love with a very complicated guy, who is in his 40ies, who's job it is to deliver goods with a white van, he is trying to be a bit of an artist by making wax sculptures, who is living in Hackney (Greater London) and who used to be homosexuell before this relationship. At the beginning it starts as every relationship in a very happy way: They are both intoxicated by love and make love everywhere and at any time. But slowly the struggle starts. Whereas Z wants to make plans for a future together, he wants to be on his own, depending on no-one. So it comes to a point, while Z leaves London for a few weeks for an Interail tour on Europe. What I really found a shame was, that Z never made any contact with interesting women on her journey. It seemed that her life was completely determined by men. I found it a pitty because the protagonist didn't enjoy the Interail journey at all. After coming back to England the struggle starts again... Nevertheless the book is very sad in the end, but also many things in Europe have been observed with the eyes of a foreigner and therefor it is a very wise and often funny book and it is worth reading it.

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