Advance reader reviews of The Lost and Forgotten Languages of Shanghai by Ruiyan Xu.

The Lost and Forgotten Languages of Shanghai

A Novel

By Ruiyan Xu

The Lost and Forgotten Languages of Shanghai
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  • Published in USA  Oct 2011,
    352 pages.

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There are currently 32 member reviews
for The Lost and Forgotten Languages of Shanghai
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  • Deborah D. (Old Forge, NY)


    Good but lacking
    This book begins with an interesting concept. I enjoyed the contrast between languages and characters. Although I enjoyed most of the book I found the ending abrupt and more tragic than the original accident.
  • Anne B. (Fredonia, WI)


    First Time Novel
    For her first novel, it is well written, characters are mapped out and make sense, but for the most part, I think she could have done a little more with the style. It's readable, fine, but I was expecting a little more poetry. The story itself is very interesting, new and well thought out. Do read it, it is worth the time.
  • Elly M. (Roswell, NM)


    Lost on the Seas of Metaphors & Similes
    While the idea behind this novel is interesting, I found its presentation difficult to read.

    The overabundant use of metaphors and similes interfered with, rather than enhanced, the flow of the story. It was also distracting, leaving the reader to wonder which was the more important - the story or the copious descriptive passages. I feel that those passages undermined the substance of the story.

    It is not a book I would particularly recommend.
  • Kristen K. (Atlanta, Georgia)


    The Lost and Forgotten Languages of Shanghai
    Reading this book is like watching a slowly sinking ship. There is an initial crisis and then the characters slowly sink into worse circumstances through their inability to deal with life changing events. I felt sorry for the characters but also frustrated with their decisions. Although the story takes place in Shanghai, there is little influence of the Chinese culture. This book could provide for interesting discussions on communication and what it means to love someone.
  • Erica M. (Chicago, IL)


    Lost and Forgotten Languages of Shanghai
    This book starts out painfully slowly, but is so worth staying with. The title hints at the basic premise of the book - a man sustains brain damage and suffers from the inability to speak in Chinese; he can only communicate in the language of his childhood, English. He can no longer speak to his wife, only his American doctor. But it really discusses communication on many different levels. It was a complex and lovely book that I fear might be an overlooked. A loss for those who miss it.
  • Catherine H. (Nashua, NH)


    Communication and understanding
    I was very much captivated by this story about communication and understanding or rather the loss of both. I really loved the characters and their struggles, their emotions and feelings were very well developed. However, the end of the book was rushed and left me somewhat dissatisfied.
  • Marilyn J. (Harvey, ND)


    The lost and forgotten languages of Shanghai
    As an English teacher and student of other languages, I was intrigued by first the title of the book then by the premise and the story itself. It is rich with description of Shanghai and the Asian culture, but the behavior of the doctor who was hired to help Li Jing recover his language skills was so despicable and reprehensible, not to mention unbelievable, that I found the entire book somewhat incredible. It certainly evoked strong emotion in me, so for that reason, perhaps it's a successful story. Two characters were noteworthy: Li Jing's father, a dear man of strong, loving character, and Pang Pang, the child who was battered by the behavior of the important adults in his life.
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