A Lover’s Discourse by Xiaolu Guo


An excellent novel which explores how language shapes relationships.

It is very current, set in Brexit and post-Brexit England with many locations, London, Berlin, China and Australia.

A couple negotiate the cultural and linguistic barriers to a relationship. The two characters allow us to laugh at misunderstandings and pause at serious gaps of meaning. There are many divides to be bridged, the sexual differences, the cultural norms and the language barriers.

We explore what it means to have a home, to have roots in a place or society.

Guo writes in a staccato style, a snipet of conversation here and there. A fast change of location to bring us from accademia to factory workers in China, back to middle class Berlin and hippy style barge living in London. This style helps to underline how language is delivered in small parcels must be unpackaged slowly to have meaning revealed.

In 2013 Guo was Granta’s best young British novelist, do not let her novels pass you by. “A Lovers Discourse” could be the one for you.

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