Li Jing, a happily married businessman, is dining at a grand hotel in Shanghai when a gas explosion rips through the building. A shard of glass pierces Jing's forehead, obliterating his ability to speak Chinese. He can form only faltering phrases in the English he spoke as a child in Virginia, leaving him unable to communicate with his wife, Meiling, or their young son. Desperate, the family turns to an American neurologist, Rosalyn Neal, who finds herself as lost as Jing--whom she calls James--in this bewitching city, where the two form a bond that Meiling does not need a translator to understand.
With gorgeous prose and a dazzling sense of place, The Lost and Forgotten Languages of Shanghai introduces a brilliant storyteller, who shows us the power of language in both our public and our private relationships.