Transnational Series Presents: Xiaolu Guo with John Freeman

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Xiaolu Guo discusses her latest work of fiction with writer John Freeman.

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Join the Transnational Literature Series at Brookline Booksmith and Seminary Co-op Bookstores for a virtual event with Xiaolu Guo and John Freeman to discuss Guo's latest book, A Lover’s Discourse.

A Chinese woman moves from Beijing to London for a doctoral program—and to begin a new life—just as the Brexit campaign reaches a fever pitch. Isolated and lonely in a Britain increasingly hostile to foreigners, she meets a landscape architect and the two begin to build a life together.

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 post-Brexit vote Britain, the lovers must navigate their differences and their romance, whether on their unmoored houseboat or in a cramped and stifling apartment in east London. Suffused with a wonderful sense of humor, this intimate and tender novel asks what it means to make a home and a family in a new land.

Xiaolu Guo was born in south China and moved to London in 2002. Her novels have been shortlisted for the Women’s Prize and the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize and longlisted for the Man Asian Literary Prize. Her memoir, Nine Continents, was awarded the National Book Critics Circle Award in Autobiography. Her critically acclaimed films include She, a Chinese and a documentary about London, Late at Night. Based in London and Berlin, Xiaolu will be teaching in New York in fall 2020.

Moderator John Freeman was the editor of Granta until 2013. His books include The Tyranny of E-mailDictionary of the Undoing, and How to Read a Novelist; a trilogy of anthologies including Tales of Two Americas; and the poetry collections Maps and The Park. He is the executive editor at Literary Hub and also editor of the eponymous journal Freeman's. The next installment of Freeman's turns to one of the greatest elevating forces of life: love. 

About our bookstore partner:

Founded in 1961 and located in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood near the University of Chicago, the Seminary Co-op has grown from 17 members at its founding to over 53,000 today. Renowned as an exemplary academic bookstore, it attracts customers nationally and internationally. Its inventory reflects the literary and scholarly interests of its membership, many of them affiliated currently or previously with its neighbor and landlord, the University of Chicago. 57th St. Books was established in 1983 and caters to the literary interests of the greater Hyde Park community. With a world-class children’s department, a deep backlist selection and an enthusiastic staff, 57th St. Books has established itself as a gem among independent bookstores. Both stores are unique and valued places of discovery, Chicago institutions where browsing and conversation are nurtured. In 2019, the Seminary Co-op Bookstore became the country’s first not-for-profit bookstores whose mission is bookselling.

About the Transnational Literature Series at Brookline Booksmith

The Transnational Series focuses on stories of migration, the intersection of politics & literature, and works in translation and is supported by the independent bookstore Brookline Booksmith. Subscribe to the Transnational Series newsletter for information on upcoming events, book recommendations, and more.


This virtual event is free to attend. To support the independent bookstores and independent publisher who organized this event, please consider purchasing A Lover's Discourse from Brookline Booksmith or Seminary Co-op Bookstores.

About Donations

We are pleased to make this event free for entry, but you may notice you have the option to donate. By donating, you help Brookline Booksmith build toward a stronger today and a post-pandemic future. Every dollar of support means the world to us. Thank you for your continued support!

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