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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  • Karen H. (Auburn, MA)


    Good writer, plot lacking
    I can tell that Ruiyan Xu has a knack for words. Her prose creates a pleasurable read. While I can appreciate the message she is trying to create with the storyline (isolation created by language barriers, inter-personal relationships, communicating without the right words, etc.), the plot was predictable and often cheesey. It didn't read as believable when Li Jing loses his fluency in Chinese. It read as a bad sitcom. I look forward to more of Ruiyan Xu's books, but I hope that she doesn't try so hard the next time. I hope she lets the story develop and doesn't try so hard to shape it in a way that doesn't read smoothly.
  • Mary B. (St Paul, MN)


    Lost ad Forgotten Languages
    I enjoyed the book very much. The characters came to life through the narrative. Ms Xu' writing is very descriptive and involving. One can feel the rain and humidity as she writes about it. One can feel the emotions the characters are experiencing. I was sorry when the book ended as I wanted to know what else would be happening to the characters, as they had become people I cared about. On a side note, the jacket cover is beautiful!
  • Samantha H. (Golden, CO)


    Lost and Forgotten Languages of Shanghai
    This is a fascinating story, that showcases how our lives and culture are completely dependent on a common language. I started this book on an airplane, and became so absorbed in the narrative that I nearly missed the beverage cart. The Lost and Forgotten Languages of Shanghai is very well written, and the characters are well developed. I became completely wrapped up in Li Jing's struggle to rejoin his family, having lost the one thing he needs to succeed -- the ability to joke, fight, and express his love. I highly recommend this book. I think it would be a great title for a book club to open up discussions on how language is vital to our lives and the world around us.
  • Barbara S. (Glen Ellyn, Illinois)


    The Lost and Forgotten Languages of Shanghai
    In the Lost and Forgotten Languages of Shanghai, author Ruiyan Xu weaves and unforgettable drama that begins with a critical accident resulting in bilingual aphasia causing communication complications between all touched--family, doctors and friends. An intense read of a never-to-be-forgotten tale. I highly recommend this novel.
  • Susan P. (Boston, MA)


    Disordered Lives from Disordered Language
    Aphasia literally means "no speech," but neurologists define it as a "language disorder." This nicely conveys the disorder to some lives that bilingual aphasia creates for several people.

    From a traumatic brain injury, a successful young Shanghai businessman loses his ability to speak/write in his dominant, but second, language (Chinese) while being able to speak his first language, English (bilingual aphasia). Truculent at first to work on his rehabilitation, he improbably changes toward those who speak English and those who don't. His relationship with his wife was confounding but fascinating, and I wondered: Were they becoming the people they always were, deep down? And does the American neurologist, an authority but a naive person, help at all?

    A fascinating but clear-eyed view of contemporary Shanghai (the heat, food, ex-pat community, buildings) as well as the flawed people making mistakes and the others observing them.

    Very enjoyable and compelling insights into an amazing city and its people. A good "you are there" feeling -- enough to make you talk to the characters to say, "Aw, stop, don't do that.."
  • Dianne S. (Green Valley, AZ)


    The Lost and Forgotten Languages of Shanghai
    I was drawn to this book by it's subject matter and location. In those aspects I was not disappointed. I was though disappointed in how slow the book started out and how when you thought it was finally going to take off it didn't.

    The characters and their relationships were beautifully developed, but I never felt they grew.

    The descriptions of Shanghai were enlightening and did make me want to read more.

    Overall I think The Lost and Forgotten Languages of Shanghai is a good first book and I would read more by this author.
  • Carrie (Albany, NY)


    voyage in a novel
    The setting truly captured me in this novel. I was carried away to Shanghai and riveted with the descriptions of the place. It's a lovely first novel sure to appeal to fans of multicultural fiction.
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