Friday, March 02, 2007
I just finished reading A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers, by Xiaolu Guo. I hate writing book reviews, but I have to tell you how brilliant this book is. It is by turns hilarious, poignant, observant and witty. Each chapter is headed by a new word learnt by the heroine, Zhuang, and the chapter tells of the experience relating to the new word. Experiences range from mystification at the weird stuff English people eat, to failures of communication with her noncommittal English lover (who thinks equality and freedom are excuses for not committing to anything, especially relationships). There's lots of philosophical musings in it as well as food, sex, plants and vocabulary. It's like a cross between Bridget Jones and Bill Bryson, but written from the point of view of a 24-year-old Chinese woman who is abroad for the first time.