Rated of 5
by 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.."