A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers

“A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers” by Xiaolu Guo (China)


Readers enjoyed the book, with some preferring the first half to the second. They liked the humour and the clever use of language as it evolves from poor to better English during the course of the story. They found the point of view from a Chinese perspective of English and Western society interesting. They also felt that the use of short chapters each introduced by a definition of an English word was very effective. Some readers found the relationship between Z and the English man somewhat lacking in credibility. However, others felt that it subtly captured the problems of communication and misunderstandings that arise within relationships. Readers described the ending as realistic and gentle. Overall, they thought it was a very original story. The book averaged a 7.5 out of 10.


Z is a 23-year-old Chinese language student who has come to London to learn English. When the book begins she can barely ask for a cup of tea, but when language comes, so does love. As she gets to know British culture she also falls for an older English man who lives a resolutely bachelor life in Hackney… Read more

Nicola’s Book Club reading list

Season 8 – “Love & Passion in World Literature” (Sep 2008 – Jan 2009)

“A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers” by Xiaolu Guo (China)
“Ali and Nino” by Kurban Said (Azerbaijan)
“Tracks” by Louise Erdrich (U.S.)
“The Bad Girl” by Mario Vargas Llosa (Peru) *
“Wide Sargasso Sea” by Jean Rhys (Dominica) 

* The book club favourite
In italics, Nicola’s Coup de Cœur

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