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Words of a Bibliophile

"It's only words, and words are all I have, to take your heart away." —Bee Gees

The Lost and Forgotten Languages of Shanghai by Ruiyan Xu

The Lost and Forgotten Languages of Shanghai - Ruiyan Xu

This book really moved me. The writing style is beautiful and lyrical. But in the end I decided on a 3, maybe 3.5-star rating because I went from sympathizing and rooting for the characters to being frustrated and annoyed by all of them. The author did a good job of portraying the point of view of each main character, though.

I'm not sure if the type of language loss suffered by Li Jing is an actual, real-life condition, but it seems a bit weird that he can understand Chinese and can even translate it to English, but he can't speak any Chinese at all. Then again, I'm no neurologist. But what I find even stranger is how Meiling, a smart, college-educated career woman in 1999 does not understand a single word of English in order to communicate with her husband. I do not expect fluency, but seriously, do people in modern-day China really don't understand simple English words like 'please' or 'sorry'?

As I got closer to the ending I started dreading how the story would conclude. I knew how I didn't want it to end, but I didn't know what a good ending would be either. The only certain thing is that nothing good comes out of infidelity, for any party involved.