The Lost and Forgotten Languages of Shanghai
2 journalers for this copy...
"When an explosion reverberates through the Swan Hotel in Shanghai, it is not just shards of glass and rubble that come crashing down. Li Jing and Zhou Meiling find their once-happy marriage rocked to its foundations. For Li Jing, his head pierced by a shard of falling glass, awakens from brain surgery only able to utter the faltering phrases of the English he learnt as a child - a language that Meiling and their young song Pang Pang cannot speak.
When an American neurologist arrives, tasked with teaching Li Jing to speak fluently again, she is as disorientated as her patient in this bewitching, bewildering city. As doctor and patient grow closer, feelings neither of them anticipated begin to take hold. Feelings that Meiling, who must fight to keep both her husband's business and her family afloat, does not need a translator to understand."
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Maybe this is due to different cultural background (and this is a theme explored on the book too among other things), but I found that the book's characters often created quite a drama when there shouldn't be any and remained quiet when there should actually be some strong feelings and reactions. Many developments feel far too unreal, especially given the short time frame all this is supposed to happen and to be honest, although I've met many people acting as the characters of the book, well, this doesn't mean I liked them.
My review would end up a huge list of spoilers if I mention here all the points I found unconvincing. And unfortunately I need some credibility to enjoy reading a book. There were so many key points that I couldn't swallow here, that at times I had to force myself to keep reading.
On the other hand, at those moments, a nice description of the city or of a character's feelings would show up on next paragraph, or finally some plot development, albeit weak, that would spark my interest somewhat. Thus, although it is a slow read and not excellent, I finished the book in two long afternoons. Recommended? Maybe. I can see people having very different opinions on this novel and of course you wouldn't know before you try it : )
I know that me, I'd like to read something else from this author sometime in the future...
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