Things Too Far Away (China Short Stories Book 1)

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She was a talented dancer, winning a scholarship to study contemporary dance and ballet at university, which she lost after becoming distracted by words. I was taking all these fourth year philosophy courses and it was a leap too great. Unable to support herself without the scholarship, she abandoned the course, and it was a while before she found a way of financing herself on the new journey of a literature degree.

Having enough money is important to me. But a system that worked for a short stories caused problems when she set about her debut novel. Her debut novel, Certainty , published in , won two prizes in Canada but left her feeling dissatisfied. Research for Dogs at the Perimeter involved travelling around the country for months. Can survival bring them peace, or is it only madness to remember?

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Do Not Say We Have Nothing makes the surprising suggestion that part of the solution might lie in the act of copying. She is speaking literally as well as metaphorically. My handwriting is the same as hers. She married a Dutchman and briefly went to live in the Netherlands, before returning to set up home on the other side of Canada, in Montreal, where she now lives with the Lebanese novelist Rawi Hage. This latest crackdown is yet another variation on the long-running theme of suppression of the individual, making it highly unlikely that either of her mature novels will be published in mainland China, though she hopes they may yet be in Hong Kong.

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Shakespeare can writing that, my spelling not too bad then. Twenty-four-year-old Ms.

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Her parents expect of her to sell their shoes from their family-owned factory to the British and she needs to learn the language properly. She meets a man, twenty years her senior, with whom she starts a relationship. The exposure to the European cultures are often funny, although she struggles to adapt to the new language and decadent lifestyle of her lover. Her stay in England becomes a journey from adolescence to adulthood through the language of sex, fueled by her insecurities and her effort to control her environment.

While attending her language classes in England, she uses a notebook in which she dots down new words and ideas. This notebook becomes the mainstay of her journey through the new environment. It becomes as much a word list as a journal of her anxieties and successes. She becomes a totally different person in a very short time and returns to China with a new independence.

Her parents are not happy with her choices, but she revels in her new freedom of movement and thought. My comments: Her newfound love does not have a name, and hardly any other characters become more than just bodies populating her personal space. Her travels through Europe are mostly introspective, sexually orientated, and impersonal. Her parents taught her not to speak to strangers, which disabled her from finding true friends.

The differences between her mother tongue and English is informative and very often funny, although she claims that Chinese people do not understand humor.

It's a tough read of a tough story yet entertaining and sad at the same time. It is inevitable. The book did not sport any emotional warfare in my psyche. I often found revulsion feeding a severe heartburn in my being. It just left me with an empty sadness as a reminder of this experience.


Perhaps it was meant to be. View 1 comment. Oct 25, Vicky rated it liked it Shelves: novel , great-book-titles , asian-pacific-islander. Things I liked: 1 The title of this book, which is named after an actual Chinese to English dictionary. Margaret have a neatly cut pale blonde hair, with very serious clothes. Top and her bottom always same colour. She not telling her age, but I guessing she from 31 to Now I think French is even more strange.

In France, their fish is poisson , t Things I liked: 1 The title of this book, which is named after an actual Chinese to English dictionary. Pain and poison and crap. That's what they have every day. But like other reviews I've read before starting this book, I couldn't sympathize with Z very much because 2 Z mentions to her lover that in China, nobody's really lonely. They are a collectivist country; always a crowd, a family. But she doesn't feel homesick.

She seems to hate and love her parents at the same time. She has only been in an individualistic country for less than a year, but then why does she seem to have the mindset as if she was raised in both? Maybe it's simply because she reminds me of my mother and myself, and it conflicts just for me.

A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers by Xiaolu Guo

That's why I liked the couple times she simply wrote in Chinese which is translated on the next page because it was an opportunity to read what she may really be like, that she can't express, but on those occasions, she writes very short paragraphs about the same thing: her lover, 4 who is not easy to like either, but can be understood. I was afraid the remainder of the book would turn out like this. I'm glad it didn't, but I'm not glad that it seems the same--how come these men give in so easily to her and invite her to stay with them?

Is that believable? Final thoughts: I would give this book 3. It's worth reading, and it's easy to read after I got familiar with her missing articles and written "accent. That's all. Xiaolu Guo writes in a beautiful, arresting way.

Yan Lianke’s Forbidden Satires of China

It's as if the reader is swimming, only to be pulled underwater and held there until they need to come up for air. I read it in gulps, huge chunks of pages slip through my fingers. I love how detailed this book is, I love that so much thought and effort seems to go into it. This book is about a girl called Zhuang, or "Z", and it is written in a diary format with each chapter titled a new word she learns in that chapter, or, the theme of it. I love Xiaolu Guo writes in a beautiful, arresting way. I love that as her English improves, the writing becomes more complex.

I love her character arc, I love the arc of the man she meets.

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There are LGBT themes in this book, which surprised me and made me grateful for representation. The characters are complex and believable. Z has a great sense of humour and Guo's ability to pick apart the contradictions and absurdities in British culture make me grin, because she's so right.