Lost in Translation
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Lost in Translation

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3.64 of 5 stars 3.64  ·  rating details  ·  1,293 ratings  ·  166 reviews
A novel of searing intelligence and startling originality, Lost in Translation heralds the debut of a unique new voice on the literary landscape.Nicole Mones creates an unforgettable story of love and desire, of family ties and human conflict, and of one woman's struggle to lose herself in a foreign land--only to discover her home, her heart, herself.

At dawn in Beijing, Al...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published May 11th 1999 by Delta (first published January 1st 1988)
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Ruth
366 Pages. Donated 2010 May.

Nicole Mones doesn't waste any time getting to the heart of the matter in her first novel, Lost in Translation. Within the first 10 pages we discover that protagonist Alice Mannegan, an interpreter based in Beijing, has a yen for sex with Chinese men. By the time we reach page 20, we've learned that Alice is in full flight from her father, a racist U.S. congressman, and about to start working for Adam Spencer, an American archeologist on the hunt for the missing bones...more
Bee
This is NM's first book but I read it last. So even though I think it is good I felt the sense of an author finding a formula and sticking with it.
Mones books are interesting, well researched, compelling to read, and they always teach you something - Peking Man, Chinese porcelain, food, but there is that repetition of elements that dominate the books. Obviously the geographical setting - China - is one of them, there's the strong, smart, female character, aged 35+, and there is the romance.
Possi...more
Carinya Kappler
Perhaps I have benefited by not yet having seen the well publicised but little understood movie version of “Lost in Translation”. I was able to tackle the novel with no preconceived notions of the delicacy required to preserve the cultural bridge between westerners and Chinese, and indeed between Chinese people themselves in their daily dealings with each other.
Whether the novel accurately portrays the cultural mysteries or not is not an essential ingredient for the reader’s enjoyment of this be...more
Bekah
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
MC
An elaborate, yet low-key adventure about history, archaeology and finding a place to truly belong. Although the characters had a lot of potential, I never was able to connect with any of them - I had a hard time liking Alice. Her Daddy issues and borderline fetishism with Chinese culture wasn't endearing or understandable, it was annoying. Why Lin? What was special about him? Or her other, near-fiance? It's never quite clear. And why in the world are we, the reader, treated to a very late roman...more
Suzanne
Alice Mannegan is a young American woman working as an interpreter in modern day China. When she is hired by Dr. Adam Spencer to help him search for the missing “Peking Man”, she embarks on a journey of intrigue, love and an enticing mystery.

The Asian cover of the book may make some think Nicole Mones’ novel is related to the movie of the same name, but let me assure you, it’s not. From the first chapter, I was absolutely drawn into this book. Mones presents a credible mystery – a clue that coul...more
Susan
Lost in Translation by Nicole Mones is set in modern-day China. Alice Mannegan is an American woman living on her own in China, working as a freelance translator.

Her father Horace Mannegan is a US Congressman. When she was a small child, he gave a pro-segregation speech that incited a race riot. She is ashamed of his racism and refuses to live in America. However she readily accepts his money to support her lifestyle. Alice holds another grudge against her father: when she fell in love with a C...more
Karmen
Retrieved this book from my storage locker; hidden within a medium size box of other treasures. Last read was over 4 years ago.

The story concerns a Chinese translator, Alice Mannegan, working in Guangzhou, China. She ran away as far as was possible from being the poster child for "white America" by her father, a U.S. Congressman. The story details the struggle she has not only with the language but the nuances built in over the centuries to it. The words don't necessarily correspond to their mea...more
Merty
I would really love the chance to travel to China. This novel takes place there and it's a bit mysterious, the book has a way of drawing me in! I love it and I want to read Nicole Mones other 2 books, one on my kindle and one I just ordered in Paperback, didn't like the print on kindle for that one, for some reason.

Oh, this book was exotic and erotic. I loved the story about Alice and her desire to stay in China or move back to the U.S. Her job as interpreter to an Archeaologist was so interesti...more
Dee
This book really surprised me! I purchased it from a library discard pile. What luck! For this book I would have happily paid more than the dollar that I did. It's an agonizingly lovely book that uses the dischord between an American woman and her given culture, and family, to craft a tale that puts the alienation anybody can feel into a deeper perspective. Unlike just anybody, the protagonist loses herself in the classic language and ancient traditions of her chosen home: in China. Reading it,...more
Jeannette
I am giving this 3 stars, but it might deserve 2.5. I really enjoyed The Last Chinese Chef, but this book took too long to go anywhere. It just seemed to drag and plod. I got more than halfway into the story and then got impatient and skimmed to the ending. So, I did want to find out what happens, but I didn't want to take the time to read the whole story.

It just wasn't very gripping or compelling. None of the characters were fleshed out very well. I never could quite see Alice's point of view,...more
Dorothy
I wonder how many people are like me, and picked up this book because they thought it was the origin of the movie?

Whatever, I'm glad I did pick it up (even though it has nothing to do with the movie at all), because I thoroughly enjoyed it. I liked the heroine, I liked the insight into the Chinese people, language and country, and I enjoyed the plot.

I will certainly look out for other books by this author.
Velvetink
Lost in Translation is a novel about love--between a nation and its past, between a man and a memory, between a father and a daughter.
Coralie
This was another book that was hard to get into. I was very put off by the beginning and the behavior of the main character that I almost put it down after the first chapter, but it was highly recommended so I stayed with it. I was glad I did, because it was a good book after Alice, the main character, calmed down a little. This book was about Chinese archeology and the hunt for the bones of "Peking Man". It was very exciting and I found myself really liking all of the characters, although I won...more
A B
This book could be the cure for insomnia.

I am usually a very fast reader but in this case, reading was almost a chore. You'd think a book about a search for an anthropology treasure set against Chinese culture and politics, along with an American woman with severe daddy issues who wishes she were Chinese (not to mention a hot Chinese guy with a tragic backstory) would be difficult to put down. Yet it is. It's like the writer divided by zero.

Instead, there are too many plot elements working again...more
Mel P
It took me awhile to get into this book. It was very slow building but once it got me, it got me. There was something very poetic and sensuous in the way the author described things. The tension between Alice and Lin. The desperation and sadness of Dr. Spenser. Alice was such a complex character yearning to be accepted but at the same time not accepting herself. She had obviously gone to China to, what she thought, to find herself but what she was really doing was running away from herself and h...more
Julie
One of those reads that I'd damn with faint praise... The story was engaging enough- the search for the remains of Peking Man in the wilds of northwestern China- there was enough cloak and dagger intrigue to keep the pages turning. And Mones provides great insights into the contemporary Chinese mind, through her Western filter.Her story also showed how the "Chaos"- the Cultural Revolution-impacted personal relationships. Mones humanized, individualized & softened a culture that we tend to se...more
Karen
I loved the way this book brought the Chinese language alive. The use of exact(ish I'm sure) translations of phrases within a conversation was skillfully done and wasn't annoying or distracting, as it can often be. The author gave a feel for the formality and caution that pervades all aspects of life in China, including its language.

The book centers on an American interpreter who has been hired by an American archaeologist to aid him in his search for the Peking Man lost bones. Peking Man was a...more
Brianna
I read Nicole's book "The Last Chinese Chef" a few years ago and loved it so much that I read it a second time. When I discovered "Lost in Translation" and that it was written by Nicole, I immediately wanted to find the book and read it. I also was under the assumption that the movie by Sofia Coppola was based off of this book. Well I finally read it and after the first few chapters (you'd think it would have happened in the first few sentences) realized the book and movie are nothing alike. Bas...more
Brandie
I thought the book was a good read from the beginning.
One of the things I most enjoyed was the author, Nicole Mones', ability to put me there, in the main character Alice Mannegan's footsteps - although I've not experienced many of the things Alice does.
Alice Mannegan is an American interpreter working in Beijing when she takes a job interpreting for an American archaelogist searching for Peking Man.
The story is fasciniating, not only because of the drama and tension, but also because you begin...more
Speedtribes
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Cheryl
I got to chapter 3 and then realized I had already read it! I am surprised it didn't make more of an impression since I have been interested in the story of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, a French priest/archeologist/
philosopher exiled to China by the Catholic Church and his American friend/love of his life, the artist Lucile Swan, and this book draws parallels between that story and the main story of an American woman living in China as a translator, and longing to BE Chinese... She is looking for...more
Tim Jin
After reading The Last Chinese Chef, I was interested at reading more from this author. Nicole Mones does a good job at explaining the Chinese culture and bringing up the complexity of interracial relationships that is common in the western world.

Instead of writing about mindless romantic fluff, "Lost in Translation" is about an American woman going to work in China and having a relationship with a native man while she is there. The Chinese man has a different expectation from the American woma...more
Elvina
Jul 11, 2012 Elvina added it
Absolutely loved it! Love the travel, the intrigue. Also really interesting how the woman in the book is into anonymous sex and how she actually doesn't find intimacy but uses this to satisfy basic needs. She in turn is judged by someone she has fallen in love with in a post communist society. Refreshing that the author is not trying to make any "morals" out of the dilemma of trying to meet physical needs ,instinct and drive and trying to balance it with structured relationships and human intima...more
Rebecca Palomino
A great read about a woman living in China, but I'll read anything about China. What's more, a great deal of this book takes place in Yinchuan. Not many Americans have been to this desert city, so perhaps I felt a special draw to the narrative blending history, discovery and love in this dusty, western Chinese outpost. Not your average China read.
Marcy
The story of a young American woman self-exiled in China as a reaction to her segregationist father who threw her into the spotlight as a child. There was a lot I liked about the book -- the setting, and the indeed the storyline -- but it was so plodding in parts as to become dull. When things began to happen, however (the last 100 pages or so), the action moved more swiftly, and the book was much more satisfying.
Feral
I found my way to this book in an independent bookstore. I was in Charis Books in Atlanta, Georgia, and happened upon the former owner, Linda Bryant. I spent several years working at Charis long ago, and watched Linda lead hundreds of people to the right book for them at that very moment in their lives. So she recommended this one.

I gave it five stars for its overall punch. The story is compelling in a Da Vinci Code kind of way (w/o the s/m) (or not entirely). The understanding of Chinese cultu...more
Penguin Gunter
Ārkārtīga vilšanās. Pēc tam, kad biju noskatījusies Sofia Coppola tāda paša nosaukuma filmu, likās šī grāmata būs manas turpmākās pielūgsmes objekts. Tomēr Coppola aizgājusi no rakstītā darba tik tālu prom, ka tas filmā nemaz nav saskatāms. Un labi, ka tā. Filmu joprojām mīlēšu par visām tās noskaņām, bet grāmatu nevienam nerekomendēšu.
Madimadi
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Cristy
A good hearty fiction read, LOST IN TRANSLATION is beautifully told with an abundance of interesting facts about modern day Chinese culture, ancient customs, language, geography and history. Funny enough I didn’t particularly like the protagonist Alice Mannegan (daughter to a raciest U.S. Congressman); but I found myself taken in by the impassioned story telling of Nicole Mones, through the eyes of the unmarried 30 something American woman who resides in Beijing and works as a translator.

With s...more
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“But in the end he didn't love her enough to fight for her.” 3 likes
“If there was one thing she knew by then, by age twenty-two, it was that she had to get far away and stay away. Here in his world she was trapped in an intolerable corner, which seemed to grow tighter and tighter each year. And now no place in America felt right.” 3 likes
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