Rated of 5
by Aprile G. (Northampton, Massachusetts)
The Loss of Language
"The Lost and Forgotten Languages of Shanghai" is a lyrical, haunting, and engrossing book about how language and culture, and the understandings and misunderstandings that they engender, both tie people together and break them apart.
When the central character, Li Jing, has a brain injury that suddenly makes him unable to speak a word of Chinese (although he still understands it), his world, and that of his wife, father, and son, is thrown into turmoil. The parallel experiences of his American doctor, Rosalyn Neal, of isolation and connection are compelling, and ultimately heartbreaking. The book chronicles the characters' struggles, moments of connection, and missteps so seamlessly that you feel you are experiencing what the characters are experiencing. This is a book to be savored, and there is much to spark lively discussion.