Radical: A Woman’s Journey Through Wordscapes by Xiaolu Guo
(Chatto & Windus0)

Radical: A Woman’s Journey Through Wordscapes

by Xiaolu Guo

In this book, Xiaolu returns to the lexicon, the words we use every day. She presents herself as a female lexicographer, discussing Chinese ideograms, their roots and radicals (bushou), alongside western vocabulary, using words and concepts as prisms to view her nomadic life and the two worlds these words and concepts allow her to inhabit. The lexicon is based on recent experiences in America: the landscape and the cityscape of New York, the plants and parks she wandered through, and the lover she encountered in these strange times. Yet all this ties to her life in Britain, as well as to her life before in China; through Chinese words, English words, and the exploration of the space in between.

She will present this book as a memory forest and a wordscape. Her linguistic life is a journey through this forest, looking for a path, so that she won’t be separated from her roots, from her radicals, and from any reader who has expanded from Europe to America and back to the East.