Shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction
Twenty-three-year-old Zhuang (or Z as she calls herself - Westerners cannot pronounce her name) arrives in London to spend a year learning English. Struggling to find her way in the city, and through the puzzles of tense, verb and adverb; she falls for an older Englishman and begins to realise that the landscape of love is an even trickier terrain...
Xiaolu Guo was named as one of Granta's Best of Young British Novelists
"Written in deliberately bad English, this is a wonderful comic romance"
"An utterly captivating, and disorientating, journey both through language and through love"
"Guo uses her minimalist messed-up prose not just to tell an affecting coming-of-age story but to ask deep questions about the real differences between Chinese and British culture and language"
"Funny and charming...more than a love story; its psychology is politically acute, and things noted lightly in it linger in the mind"
"It is impossible not to be charmed by her matter-of-factness. As the story grows in complexity with Z's growing vocabulary - the narration acquires fluency and tenses almost imperceptibly - it is equally hard not to be impressed by Guo's vivacious talent"