Quite a different book about China, it's actually a story that could take place anywhere in the world. After an accident, a man loses part of his brain and can only speak the language he grew up with but does not reign that of his wife and child. A problem that is rare but can happen. A doctor is called from another country to help him find his way back into his ordinary life.
An interesting tale where we can see how much we take for granted in our everyday life. It is also a great account of how we have to find our way in an unknown world, both the patient as well as the doctor have to face several problems that come along with the inability to speak the language around you.
I also liked a quote on page 213:
"Clarissa sighs at the table, looking up at Rosalyn. 'Everyone always has to go. Everyone always leaves this place. People pass through here, and you get attached to them, but then they just leave you behind. You'd think we'd be used to it by now.'"
As an expatriate myself, I understand exactly what she is talking about.
From the back cover: "When an explosion reverberates through the Swan Hotel in Shanghai, it is not just shards of glass and rubble that come crashing down. Li Jing and Zhou Meiling find their once-happy marriage rocked to its foundations. For Li Jing, his head pierced by a shard of falling glass, awakens from brain surgery only able to utter the faltering phrases of the English he learnt as a child - a language that Meiling and their young song Pang Pang cannot speak.
When an American neurologist arrives, tasked with teaching Li Jing to speak fluently again, she is as disorientated as her patient in this bewitching, bewildering city. As doctor and patient grow closer, feelings neither of them anticipated begin to take hold. Feelings that Meiling, who must fight to keep both her husband's business and her family afloat, does not need a translator to understand."