Jaipur Literature Festival: A for alien, B for bisexual1 min read
Author of A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers speaks about taking to writing in English after having earned fame as a Chinese filmmaker and writer: DNA
A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers, published in 2007, is an extraordinary novel about a Chinese woman who comes to live in England for a year to learn English, and has an affair with an Englishman. Structured like a dictionary with chapters arranged according to the alphabet — “a” for alien, “b” for bisexual and so on — it deals with issues of alienation, loss, memory and exile — so relevant in the face of the many artists who have had to leave China because of political persecution. Large parts of the novel are written in broken English to mirror the author’s own lack of proficiency in the language, which becomes smoother and more grammatically correct towards the end.
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