A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers

by Xiaolu Guo



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. (Random House, Jun 10 2008, Pbk, 304pp)

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About the Author

Xiaolu Gua

Xiaolu Guo

Chinese British 

XIAOLU GUO published six books in China before moving 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 Broadband Prize for Fiction, and Twenty Fragments of a Ravenous Youth, published in 2008, was long listed for the Man Asian Literary Prize. Her last novel, I Am China was released in 2014.  Her most recent book, Nine Continents: In and Out of China, is a memoir.  Xiaolu is also a successful filmmaker of feature films, including She, A Chinese and UFO in Her Eyes, and documentaries; her work has premiered all over the world. Named as one of Granta’s Best Young British Novelists in 2013. She lives in London and Berlin.



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