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...
A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers was shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction 2007 and Xiaolu Guo was named as one of Granta's Best of Young British Novelists 2013.
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An utterly captivating, and disorientating, journey both through language and through love - Independent
Guo uses her minimalist messed-up prose not just to tell an affecting coming-of-age story but to ask deep questions about the real differences between Chinese and British culture and language - Independent on Sunday
Funny and charming...more than a love story; its psychology is politically acute, and things noted lightly in it linger in the mind - Guardian
It is impossible not to be charmed by her matter-of-factness. As the story grows in complexity with Z'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
A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers is original, humorous and wise. Within imperfect language one can find many perfect truths for the human condition. The misunderstandings are really the understandings of the differences of the heart between men and women -
Captivating, charming and bittersweet...the culture clash is beautifully drawn and utterly convincing...a memorable take on East meets West - Daily Express
This is a troubling, humane, and emotionally provocative novel which possesses the unusual quality of forcing the reader to think - Irish Times
A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers is an intriguing, funny and unusual novel about what gets lost in translation - Herald
An uplifting novel with moments of great poignancy and pathos - Tatler
Xiaolu Guo was born in a fishing village 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 (Chatto, 2004) 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 published by Chatto in 2007 and shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction. Xiaolu's film career continues to flourish; in 2007, she was Cannes Film Festival Cinefondation resident, based in Paris. She was also named as one of Granta's Best of Young British Novelists 2013.