Ruiyan Xu, The Lost and Forgotten Languages of Shanghai,

“An engrossing novel that will enchant you from beginning to end.”
—David Ebershoff, author of The 19th Wife and The Danish Girl

Li Jing, a successful, happily married businessman, is dining at a grand hotel in Shanghai when a gas explosion shatters the building. A shard of glass neatly pierces Li Jing's forehead—obliterating his ability to speak Chinese. The only words that emerge from his mouth are faltering phrases of the English he spoke as a child growing up in Virginia. Suddenly Li Jing finds himself unable to communicate with his wife, Meiling, whom he once courted with beautiful words, as she struggles to keep his business afloat and maintain a brave face for their son. The family turns to an American neurologist, Rosalyn Neal, who is as lost as Li Jing—whom she calls James—in this bewitching, bewildering city, where the two form a bond that Meiling does not need a translator to understand. Read an excerpt »


Ruiyan Xu


Ruiyan Xu was born in Shanghai and moved to the United States at the age of ten. She graduated from Brown University and lives in Brooklyn. The Lost and Forgotten Languages of Shanghai is her first novel. More about Ruiyan »



"A beautifully executed, moving debut about the articulation of love." — Times of London

"The tone of [Xu's appealing first novel] about love in modern Shanghai seems just right." — All Things Considered