Publication Date: 13/08/2020 ISBN: 9781784743499 Category:

A Lover’s Discourse

Xiaolu Guo

Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Publication Date: 13/08/2020 ISBN: 9781784743499 Category:





‘It is hard not to be impressed by Guo’s vivacious talent’ Sunday Times

A story of desire, love and language – and the meaning of home – told through conversations between two lovers

A Chinese woman comes to London to start a new life, away from her old world. She knew she would be lonely, adrift in the city, but will her new relationship bring her closer to this land she has chosen, will their love give her a home?

A Lover’s Discourse is an exploration of romantic love told through fragments of conversations between the two lovers. Playing with language and the cultural differences that her narrator encounters as she settles into life in a post-Brexit Britain, Xiaolu Guo shows us how this couple navigate these differences, and their romance, whether on their unmoored houseboat or in a stifling flatshare in east London, or journeying through other continents together…

Suffused with a wonderful sense of humour, this intimate and tender novel asks universal questions: what is the meaning of home when we’ve been uprooted? How can a man and woman be together? And how best to find solid ground in a world of uncertainty?

Publisher Review

Do we feel we belong once we have a sense of place, or does the feeling instead come from our relationships? Xiaolu Guo tackles this and other heady questions . . . Through her precise and unflinching language, a revealing account emerges of how one mind opens to another, how it processes each decision and moment of wondering * USA Today * Xiaolu Guo is adept at exploring cultural difference . . . It's a subject she knows well and she delivers it in her customary forthright and entertaining style -- Lucy Popescu * Tablet, *Novel of the Week* * An absolute must-read and one of the finest novels of 2020, period * Books and Bao * Guo's latest novel . . . demonstrates how much can be achieved when narrative is cut loose from plot and scene-setting in favour of free-floating reflection -- Anthony Cummins * i * A story told with charm that will leave you in a ponderous mood -- Susannah Butter * Evening Standard * Xiaolu Guo writes with tremendous delicacy and nuance about migration, language, alienation, and love . . . Guo has pared down every tiny chapter to its poetic essence so as to let the largest themes emerge, thus taking the reader from the verbal to something approaching the numinous -- Mike Cormack * Spectator * A fragmentary meditation on the nature of love, on desire and on connection between two humans . . . this book sets off cross-cultural echoes with the lightest of strokes -- Aida Edemariam * Guardian * Guo is an unsparing noticer. The truthfulness and accuracy of Guo's language gives the book mischief and energy. There are shades of Lydia Davis in her carefully etched sentences as she details the ups and downs of the relationship without sentimentality. . . . Along the way, it's capacious enough to touch on moments of real darkness, while somehow managing to be mordant, funny and, ultimately, life-affirming -- Marcel Theroux * New York Times *

Book experts at your service

What are you looking for?

A recommendation
Something specific
  • Mr B's Recommendation Station
  • Fill in the three questions below, along with your name and email address, and our book experts will be in touch soon with their personal recommendations
  • I'm after something specific
  • Tell us about the book, author or subject you're looking for, along with your name and email address and our book experts will be in touch as soon as possible