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A concise Chinese-English dictionary for lovers
Xiaolu Guo
Adult Fiction GUO

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From Publishers' Weekly:

A young woman from rural China learns how to comprehend "love" and "heartbreak" in English in this quirky, touching novel. Zhuang, or "Z" to tongue-tied foreigners, arrives in London at age 23 after being dispatched by her parents to get an education. Her immersion and painful education are laid bare to readers, who witness Z's vocabulary, grammar and understanding blossom throughout her diarylike account, sped along by an intense romance with a man met at the cinema. Her consuming love begins promisingly, but her failure to interpret her lover's lifestyle as a hippie drifter (who's 20 years her senior) alerts readers to potential trouble in paradise, even while such a notion remains beyond Z's not-yet-jaded imagination. The novel overflows with gentle jokes about culture shock and language barriers including Z's inability to understand why Brits bother talking about the weather when it's obvious-but there are deeper observations beneath the humor. Z's comically earnest exploration of a sex shop illuminates the pathos of Western seediness, and her encounters with men reveal both the exploitative and meaningful sides of romance. Z's unique, evolving voice fits perfectly for a heroine whose naivete is matched by a willingness to relay the truth. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

This first English-language novel from Guo, who has written two other novels and is also a filmmaker, is a sometimes sad and sometimes funny tale of one young Chinese woman's attempt to learn a foreign language and assimilate into Western culture when she goes to London to study English. Zhuang's first lesson in the West is that no one can pronounce her name correctly, and she decides to call herself just "Z" in order to avoid awkward conversations about it. Every experience is new for Z, the daughter of factory owners in rural China, and she dutifully records each new word or idea in the journal she carries as religiously as her dictionary. Her confusion is compounded when she meets a man who quickly becomes her live-in lover. Z soon realizes that her ideas about love and sex may not be like those of her Western counterparts, and her naivete leads Z into a few dangerous situations. But as her knowledge of the language grows, so does her maturity. An engrossing tale written with the novel approach of having the narrator's English growing increasingly better as the book progresses, this is recommended for most public libraries.-Leann Restaino, Girard, OH (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters Zhuang "Z:
Female
Age: 23
Chinese
Sent to London by her parents to pursue an education; parents own a shoe factory in China; lives with a Chinese family; trying to learn the English language and culture; falls in love with a man she met at the movies; struggles to understand her lover.



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