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Download The Lost and Forgotten Languages of Shanghai: A Novel Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Lost and Forgotten Languages of Shanghai: A Novel Audiobook, by Ruiyan Xu Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (293 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Ruiyan Xu Narrator: Angela Dawe Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: October 2010 ISBN: 9781400189328
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Li Jing, a high-flying financier, has just joined his father for dinner at the grand Swan Hotel in central Shanghai when, without warning, the ground begins to rumble, shifts, then explodes in a roar of hot, unfurling air. As Li Jing drags his unconscious father out of the collapsing building, a single shard of glass whistles through the air and neatly pierces his forehead. In an instant, Li Jing's ability to speak Chinese is obliterated. After weeks in a hospital, all that emerge from Li Jing's mouth are unsteady phrases of the English he spoke as a child growing up in Virginia. His wife, Zhou Meiling, whom he courted with beautiful words, finds herself on the other side of an abyss, unable to communicate with her husband and struggling to put on a brave face for the sake of Li Jing's floundering company and for their son, Pang Pang. Rosalyn Neal, a neurologist who specializes in Li Jing's condition-bilingual aphasia-arrives from the United States to work with Li Jing, to coax language back onto his tongue. Rosalyn is red-haired, open-hearted, recently divorced, and as lost as Li Jing in this bewitching, bewildering city. As doctor and patient sit together, sharing their loneliness along with their faltering words, feelings neither of them anticipated begin to take hold-feelings Meiling does not need a translator to understand. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Set in a dense, dizzyingly urban Shanghai, Xu’s elegant first novel affectingly addresses the way identity and language intertwine and the emotional anguish of estrangement.”

    Booklist

  • Precise and elegant. Kirkus

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Darshan Elena | 2/16/2014

    " I was excited to read this novel, as I have a keen interest in language and medicine. While the beginning of the novel maintained my interest, as the plot veered towards the expected but unfortunate, I became disaffected. Strong term that true; I just couldn't bear witness to the characters' dissolution. I imagine their redemption awaits; I just won't know for sure... Apologies if this is a spoiler. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cyndi | 2/10/2014

    " Let's give this one a 2.5. It's a first novel and it reads like one. Flowery descriptions, banal plot lines, surface characterizations. It starts of interesting (the 3) with a brain injury, aphasia, and family dynamics. Then it devolves (the 2) into a love triangle without purpose. I kept having to put the book down and take a break before reading more. But at least I had enough motivation to finish it. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Salome | 1/25/2014

    " I bought this book without knowing much about it. I thought it would go much more into the language therapy and the difficulties faced by Li Jing on his way to recovery. Unfortunately, the book explains very little about the therapy and instead focuses on a pretty standard love story. So, I am giving it a 2* for its descriptions of Shanghai and China's country side, but as far as the story goes, I found it very mediocre. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Erica | 1/24/2014

    " This book is really terrible. I was horrified by the story, but not in the way that the author intended... this book is about a hugely inappropriate doctor. Seriously, what kind of professional acts like that? Moving in with her patient, going to the spa and shopping with the patient's wife... oh it goes on and on and gets even worse. I shudder to think of it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Josianne Fitzgerald | 1/18/2014

    " I was sure I would love this book because of its focus on language and how it shapes our identities, but now that I finished it not sure that I really enjoyed it. Even so, I think this book will spark lots of discussion in my book club as we are all expats in China learning to communicate without fluency. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Christopher Fournier | 1/14/2014

    " Such a beautifully written book with real characters. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Krysia | 1/13/2014

    " The plot of this book turned out to be different than what I anticipated. No matter, I learned much about Shanghai, brain injury, and language. The change in some of the characters through the course of the novel was a bit surprising as well. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rosetta | 1/13/2014

    " I really enjoyed this book. It was a quick read. I was very surprised that I had won a book. Thanks again for the book.I will share it with my friends. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Dsolove | 12/3/2013

    " Things happen in the book that are not believable or are not consistent with the character. Also, the short time period covered by the book is unrealistic. One of the main characters is dropped from the final chapters. Overall, I do not recommend this book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sapphira Toh | 11/30/2013

    " Whilst the plot was promising, it really could've been written better. I believe the author uses too many broken sentences, and its utilisation only hampered the delivery of the story. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kathleen | 10/29/2013

    " Credits to the attempt in delineating bilingual aphasic patients' recovery process. However, description is too overt and merely in-depth in leading readers to understand the psyche of each and every characters. The language is not espececially beautiful either. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Miriam | 10/29/2013

    " Interesting premise- a man loses his ability to speak Chinese (he is bilingual) yet he can understand the language and can only speak the English he learned as a child.... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Claudia | 10/22/2013

    " Won this book from first reads. After a gas explosion and an injury, a man looses his ability to speak his language of Chinese. Now with not being able to communicate with anyone in his family and everyday life, they seek help with a American doctor and then the story enfolds. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Eli | 9/14/2013

    " Beautifully written. Steady pace that suits the story which is more of a fable than a fairy tale. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Julie Stapley | 8/5/2013

    " I thought it was an interesting treatment of being identified by something and then have it taken from you. It was an insight into Chinese culture. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Natalya | 4/18/2012

    " I really liked this book. What a concep......, loosing ability to speak a language "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Denese | 1/28/2012

    " Loved the writing, author had me "seeing" Shanghai. I have been there and she showed me parts I forgot/never saw. The story irritated me some as communication is more than spoken word. But the emotions protrayed at not being able to communicate and losing so much was very moving. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Donna | 5/18/2011

    " a poignant story about the importance of love and communication in a marriage...especially one that appears perfect "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sandy | 4/10/2011

    " started out really well but soon became disjointed. characters just weren't believable "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Bekah | 3/13/2011

    " I was going to give this book 4 stars...until towards the end...Won't tell you why in case you decide to read it, but it made me mad. So now it gets just 2. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Denese | 3/2/2011

    " Loved the writing, author had me "seeing" Shanghai. I have been there and she showed me parts I forgot/never saw. The story irritated me some as communication is more than spoken word. But the emotions protrayed at not being able to communicate and losing so much was very moving. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Beth | 2/15/2011

    " This was a bit slow, but the writing was beautiful and the characters were compelling even if their every little action wasn't. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Julie | 1/17/2011

    " I thought it was an interesting treatment of being identified by something and then have it taken from you. It was an insight into Chinese culture. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Diane | 12/23/2010

    " Such a good book about how losing the power of speech affects ones whole life. "

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About the Author

Ruiyan Xu, born in Shanghai, moved to the United States at the age of ten without speaking a word of English. She graduated from Brown University with honors in creative writing; won the 2004 Hochstadt Award from Hedgebrook and a 2005 Jerome Foundation Fellowship for Emerging Artists; and has been awarded residencies at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Jentel, Ragdale, and the Anderson Center. Xu lives in Brooklyn, where she works as an interactive producer at P.O.V., the independent documentary series on PBS.

About the Narrator

Angela Dawe is an actor and improviser working with the Annoyance Theater and Second City in Chicago. Her career has encompassed stage, television, and film work, in addition to award-winning audiobook narrations, which include young adult, suspense, romance, and historical fiction titles.