Ruiyan Xu, The Lost and Forgotten Languages of Shanghai

The Lost and Forgotten Languages of Shanghai Praise

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

"[T]his first novel compels on both intellectual and emotional level...a poignant and impressive debut." — BookPage

"Xu’s elegant first novel affectingly addresses the way identity and language intertwine and the emotional anguish of estrangement." — Booklist

"Xu's emotional fluency is what makes this novel work...the love in this book is unfettered, and from this she draws out complex and intriguing questions about language, culture and understanding." — The Guardian

"A thoughtful disquisition upon the power of language, Ruiyan Xu's remarkable first novel is also a compassionate and perspicacious examination of the nature of human relationships." — The Daily Mail

"A sensitive and moving exploration of what happens to a marriage when love is lost in translation." — Marie Claire U.K.

"[F]ascinating and beautiful...a lyrical contemplation of language and how it shapes our identity, as well as a subtle commentary on the slippery sense of belonging in the new China." — Metro

"Ruiyan Xu's intriguing plot and unaffected writing provide a fresh take on a tale of linguistic and cultural difference." — The Guardian

The book "...poignantly channels the fears of living in a world in which silence renders one invisible....Intricately woven with metaphors and abstractions, Xu’s romantic prose challenges the morality of the decisions her characters make and chronicles the differences between idealized infatuation and loyalty to the ones you love." — Bust

"An impressive debut novel that is beautifully written..." — New Books Magazine

"Ruiyan Xu's novel has left us completely riveted..." — Marie Claire U.S.

Five stars. "[Xu's] writing is delicate, evocative and eloquent...The Lost And Forgotten Languages Of Shanghai is an eminently readable part-allegory of China's views on national identity and belonging, foisted Americanisation and external temptation. I look forward to Ruiyan Xu's second novel."— The Express U.K.


"From the explosion of its first pages to the searing emotion of its last, The Lost and Forgotten Languages of Shanghai is a novel that burns with the heat of clashing cultures and love transformed. Ruiyan Xu is a wonderful writer with a perfect ear for both the words and the silences that define us." —Peter Manseau, Author of Songs for the Butcher’s Daughter

"What a gem of a debut. This is the most literary kind, rarely found in fictions about new China. There is such deep silence in her prose, hinting at the depth of human suffering, anguish and hope. A gifted novelist, she gives us the insight into a Shanghai that is at once strange, and familiar, old and new, creating a literary landscape for its dwellers that is vast and beguiling, which is precisely the spirit of this metropolis, and of this fine fiction." —Da Chen, Author of New York Times bestselling memoir Colors of the Mountain and Brothers

"One part medical mystery, one part love story, The Lost and Forgotten Languages of Shanghai is an engrossing novel that will enchant you from beginning to end." —David Ebershoff, New York Times bestselling author of The 19th Wife and The Danish Girl

"In her captivating debut novel, Ruiyan Xu paints an absorbing portrait of modern Shanghai. When a terrible explosion leaves husband and father Li Jing without the language in which to communicate, the Li family must rediscover who they are and how to live. The Lost and Forgotten Languages of Shanghai is a richly nuanced and compelling story of loss and grief, betrayal and redemption by a gifted new voice." —Gail Tsukiyama, award-winning author of The Samurai Garden and The Street of a Thousand Blossoms

"This is an intelligent and thoughtful exploration of the terrifying isolation that can come from loss of language. The novel skilfully examines the complex relationship between language and identity, seeing beyond the words themselves to the way in which they mould our thoughts and shape our personalities. With sensitivity and perception, Ruiyan Xu penetrates right to the heart of the dilemma of translation, the etiquette that is embedded within each language, the nuances of tone. This is a novel which makes us think beyond our boundaries, that opens up a fresh understanding of our relationship with language." —Clare Morrall, author of the Booker Prize finalist Astonishing Splashes of Colour