Nine Continents by Xiaolu Guo

Nine Continents

Xiaolu Guo is one of the most acclaimed Chinese-born writers of her generation, an iconoclastic and completely contemporary voice. Her vivid, poignant memoir, Nine Continents is the story of a curious mind coming of age in an inhospitable country, and her determination to seek a life beyond the limits of its borders.Xiaolu Guo has traveled further than most to become who she needed to be. Now, as she experiences the birth of her daughter in a Lon...

Details Nine Continents

TitleNine Continents
Release DateOct 3rd, 2017
PublisherGrove Press
GenreNonfiction, Autobiography, Memoir, Cultural, China, Biography, Asia

Reviews Nine Continents

  • Hannah
    Absolutely wonderful memoir by a woman beyond impressive. She talks about alienation and perseverance, about loss and art, about growing up and finding herself, and everything in-between. Xiaolu Guo's life sounds like something out of a movie: born to an intellectual who had spent time in a labour camp and a mother who was part of the Red Guard (yes, her parents met in prison), given away at birth, and then given back to her grandparents (both an...
  • Bettie☯
    2017-02-11 Xiaolu Guo's autobiography tells her remarkable story from adoption at birth through to her career as a writer and film-maker based in the UK. This abridgement deals with her formative years, living in China in times of transition.Xiaolu Guo is a novelist, essayist, screenwriter and film maker. She was born in south-eastern China in 1973 . Her novel, in English translation, Village of Stone, wa...
  • Laura
    From BBC Radio 4 - book of the week:Xiaolu Guo's autobiography tells her remarkable story from adoption at birth through to her career as a writer and film-maker based in the UK. This abridgement deals with her formative years, living in China in times of transition.Episode 1:For the young Xiaolu, her first home was the fishing village of Shitang where she lived with her grandparents.Xiaolu Guo is a novelist, essayist, screenwriter and film maker...
  • Alice Lippart
    Raw, honest and fascinating.
  • Tara
    It's strange, I don't have any particular intellectual or aesthetic pull toward China but I have been a fan of Xiao Guo's writing ever since I was enticed by her novels that I was shelving while working at the Norwich Millennium Library. I read everything they had at the time, which was in 2009. I was excited to find an extract of this autobiography in the Guardian to promote its imminent release which left me jaw on-the-floor. This book is compl...
  • Lydia
    First, let me say that I love Xiaolu Guo and her writing so going into this, I was biased. But bias is not always a bad thing. I loved reading this memoir, or collection of essays. Xiaolu was (and still is) such a curious, rebellious, tireless little spirit and it was a pleasure reading about her childhood, despite how difficult aspects of it were. She speaks with a frankness and a boldness that almost creates a disconnect in her writing, except ...
  • Laura
    An introspective view of the author's life in China. I cannot imagine growing up as she had - starting in a poor fishing village living with her grandparents, then moving with her parents to a town where her life wasn't much better. While the book is a memoir, it does have quite a bit of history of China and its people. All around an excellent book if you are particularly interested in this time period of China.
  • Peter Tillman
    This was a pretty unpleasant read. The author had a very hard childhood, a hard student and young-adult life, and was lonely and unhappy when she moved to the UK, on a film-school scholarship that turned into a permanent move. The book does end on a more positive note.I skimmed much of the most unpleasant material, and I wouldn't advise reading the memoir when you are feeling low. It's shocking how poorly girls and women are treated in China, if ...
  • Mandy
    This totally absorbing and compelling memoir is an object lesson in how to write autobiography; clear, concise, honest, and with a narrative pace that keeps the reader eager to continue with the story. And it’s a remarkable life story, from poor beginnings in a remote fishing village in China to film-school in Beijing and a successful career in Britain. Thoroughly enjoyable and illuminating.
  • Jessica
    4.5 stars. A wonderful, deep, soul bearing memoir.
  • Sarah
    This is a fascinating memoir detailing Xialuo Guo's upbringing in communist China, and her complex relationship with her family. I have read one of her previous books "20 Fragments of a Ravenous Youth", but went into this book with almost no knowledge of her life. All I knew about her was that she grew up in China and moved to the U.K. Her life story is incredible, I was amazed that from such a hopeless, brutal upbringing she has gone on to achie...
  • Wsclai
    I have been a fan of Guo and this memoir doesn't disappoint me. On one hand, it is modern Chinese history told from a personal perspective. Guo's story reveals the absurdities of the communist regime and unfairness of a dominant patriarchal society to a girls/women.On the other hand, it is Guo's life journey which is full of touching moments. Her distant yet intimate relationship with her grandmother has moved me to tears many times. The plight o...
  • Melinda
    Upon the birth of her daughter in England, writer and filmmaker Xiaolu Guo reflects on her life up to this point: her early years raised by her grandparents in a Chinese fishing village by the sea, her school years with her parents in an industrial town, her delve into film studies in a rapidly changing Beijing.It's a fascinating life story, with sharp commentary on misogyny and art. I hadn't realized Guo was the author of A Concise Chinese-Engli...
  • Viki Cheung
    An immensely powerful, personal memoir - highly recommended.
  • Christine
    This was a quick, fascinating read, the life story of an author I’ve been intrigued by since reading her first novel written in English, “A Concise English-Chinese Dictionary for Lovers.” I’ve read all her books except for one. I would say she is the person I expected her to be after reading her novels; much of her story - the abuse, deprivation, cynicism - doesn’t come as a surprise. But, like the author herself might have, there were ...
  • Ella
    I finished the last page and shut the book. Somewhere below my stomach, a tinge of nausea was rising up. It reached my chest and sat there. It just sat there, the nausea with a weight growing by the minute. Kids were shouting from the back seat. It’s a dry winter afternoon. Dull but dry. We just finished a family walk in the woods. I let a breath out. I was disturbed. The depressing end of the book was creeping up on me. Not the nice kind of de...
  • Fiona
    My favourite book of 2018 so far.I love Xiaolu Guo and reading her wonderful memoir gives some insight behind the stories she has written. They come from herself, her heart and soul. I've always felt whilst reading her works, that I'm almost touching a part of her.It tells of her struggle with identity and place of belonging. China itself seems a country unsure of its own identity, on one hand it wants to set itself apart and be different, better...
  • Carol Douglas
    Xialu Guo's memoir takes us back to a tiny fishing village in China. Her parents couldn't care for her when she was a baby, so her mother gave her to another poor couple to raise. By the time the couple found her grandparents and took her to them, she was starving to death. Her grandmother managed to revive her.Life in the fishing village was hard. Her grandfather had loved to fish along the coast, but fishing was collectivized. He had to fish as...
  • Indu Khurana
    really interesting insight into another culture & it's impact on us humans. enjoyed very much. recommend.
  • Juliana
    My review:
  • Rhonda Lomazow
    An open real raw look into a world few of us know.Xiaolu shares with us her childhood her raising by her grandparents in their very primitive world her grandmother had bound feet,Her parents finally coming to get her bringing her into their world the world of commune living communist sharing rules life style.Finally her life outside of China .Living in London publishing books&the biggest surprise to her having a baby with her western partner,Fasc...
  • Enchanted Prose
    The remarkable journey of an artist (Shitang, Wenling, Beijing, China to London; 1970s – 2016): Starving is the first word that comes to mind reflecting on the vitality and accomplishments of an artist growing up under the Communist regime of Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution and its aftermath. For it seems Xiaolu Guo has been starving much of her life. Starved for food, family, freedoms, affection, love, individuality, dignity.Calling herself...
  • Jacqueline
    I don't usually enjoy memoirs, but the premise of this one sounded interesting because it mixed personal history with a historical background on China after the Cultural Revolution. I felt a lot of ..feelings while I read this (I know, I'm so articulate). This is one of those books I would describe as truly exemplifying why I love to read: to connect with someone, real or fictional, and finding connection and meaning in their story, despite diffe...
  • Flavia
    I have loved and found Xiaolu Guo’s fiction so fresh and original since ‘A Concise Chinese – English Dictionary for Lovers’. I was thrilled when I discovered that she had written a memoir and ‘Nine Continents’ didn’t disappoint. At all. Far from it, I found this book absorbing, inspiring and beautifully rendered. This memoir is the story of an artist; it’s also an essay on ambition, determination and the transformative aspect of c...
  • Elainedav
    I received an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.I like to read memoirs and especially those where the author is writing about something which really holds your interest. This is one of those books. I found the description of the author's childhood totally absorbing. Her life in a small fishing village, living with her grandparents, was so totally different to my own childhood in the UK. And then suddenly her parents appea...
  • Brenda
    Excellent memoir. It is an eye opening experience to read about growing up female in communist China. Xiaolu was given away as a small child, only to be returned to her grandparents when her adoptive family couldn't afford to feed her. She spends her childhood growing up in a small fishing village with her abusive grandfather and sweet grandmother. She is later reunited with her parents. Her mother and dislikes her and makes it clear she's not we...
  • Richie
    Xiaolu Guo's novels are spiritually satisfying. Hard, bitter and gritty at times, but a journey that transports you to a foreign land and way of thinking. In short, I love her writing.I have read all her novels, and you can see all of them in this memoir. It will remind you of the places she has already taken you, but with clarification into the actual facts. Village of Stone is much of her actual childhood: life by the water in the small town Sh...
  • Jill Dobbe
    The shocking revelations of a young Chinese woman who grew up in poverty stricken China. From a young age, Xialou, rebelled against the plight of Chinese women, and the old fashioned ways of the proletariat. An artist, poet, filmmaker, and writer, the author eventually found her way out of China and embarked on the life she wanted for herself.I highly recommend this book for readers who are interested in China's history and growth. Thank you Netg...
  • Sandy
    Fascinating account of growing up in 70s and 80s Communist China, this autobiographical work is an amazing accomplishment no less because it is written in the author' second language. My only minor criticism is that a few things were left unexplained.
  • Kelly
    A fantastic insight into Chinese lifestyle and traditions and evolution for the women of China. A truthful and thought provoking read that offers fantastic descriptions, visualisation and honesty into a very difficult time.