This is the kind of complex, thought-provoking read that you can still read in the sunshine. The protagonist, Zhuang, or "Z," is a recent London immigrant from China. Her voice is outstanding, endearing, troubled, and utterly relatable. You won't forget this short but expansive story about love. . . among other things.— Will
From one of our most important contemporary Chinese authors: a novel of language and love that tells one young Chinese woman's story of her 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.
"Funny, childlike and wise all at once."
—Los Angeles Times
“What makes this novel winsome is hearing the authentic voice of a young woman — bewildered, self-deprecating, funny, wise — as she navigates the world on her own.”
“Endearing. . . . Concise takes us into a new territory, all the more exciting for its virginity.”
“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.”
—San Francisco Chronicle