A Lover’s Discourse

Grove. Oct. 2020. 200p. ISBN 9780802149527. $26. F
Noted British writer/filmmaker Guo (I Am China) follows up the memoir Nine Continents with a novel documenting the relationship between an unnamed couple. In London during the initial period of Brexit, a newly arrived Chinese scholarship student working on her dissertation about artists in China who can produce counterfeit artwork in three days for about $50 meets an Australian German man, a landscape architect, at a book group. The two soon become lovers and move in together. What follows is a flowing work, narrated by the woman, that details their three years together through a series of their conversations. What adds to the work’s realism is the depiction of the young woman having to struggle to communicate her thoughts owing to her inability to fully comprehend British English metaphors while also translating sayings from Chinese to English.
VERDICT This beautifully told and gently introspective story of a young couple touches upon a host of relatable topics, from cultural and generational differences to socioeconomical perceptions and relationship issues between genders. Readers will have much to ponder, and book groups especially will appreciate.
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