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The Language of Solitude

(The Rising Dragon #2)

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  510 ratings  ·  62 reviews
Internationally bestselling author Jan-Philipp Sendker’s Whispering Shadows was “a darkly beautiful, heart-wrenching” (Booklist, starred review) journey through bustling Hong Kong’s sinister underbelly. The captivating second book in the high-stakes Rising Dragon series plunges us deeper into the dangerous heart of Chinese politics.

Brooding expat and journalist Paul
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published May 2nd 2017 by 37 Ink
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Average rating 3.85  · 
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Susanne  Strong
Feb 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Jan-Philipp Sendker has a way with words. His prose is simply beautiful. Melodic even. He writes about characters whose lives you want to care deeply about. And it is because of this that I truly wanted to love this story. And yet, it left me wanting. I wanted more from Jan-Philipp Sendker. Because I know he has it to give – I witnessed it in his first novel, the Art of Hearing Heartbeats, and I know he is capable. Unfortunately, here – he didn’t deliver. 3.5 Stars.

The Language of Solitude is
Jan 09, 2017 rated it it was ok
The Language of Solitude is the story of Paul Leibovitz who travels to a village outside Shanghai with his partner Christine when she receives a letter from her long-assumed-dead brother. There, he uncovers a terrible incident involving the villagers' health and the most powerful chemical company in China. There may be some mild spoilers below.

I struggled with reading this work. I found the characters dislikable and pigeonholed into characteristics and, even worse, stereotypes. The main
Doreen Chancellor
3.5. I don't think this book was as good as his previous two books, it lacked the poignancy of The Art of Hearing Heartbeats and A Well Tempered Heart.
Breakaway Reviewers
Dragon Games Jan-Philipp Sendker

5 unequivocal stars!!

The diverse realities of modern day China, brought to life

Sendker has done it again! When I was asked to review Whispering Shadows earlier this year I was blown away by the power of his writing. I was mesmerised by the fully rounded plot line and the quality of the writing, and delighted to be offered this to review.

In this book, we revisit the relationship between Paul Leibovitz and his Chinese girlfriend Christine; since Whispering Shadows
Nov 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: chinese-culture
This novel details the adventures of a German ex-pat Paul who becomes embroiled in discovering the mystery of a debilitating illness caused by a polluted lake in China. Rampant political corruption makes it nearly impossible to bring justice to the community and endangers Paul and his girlfriend's long-lost family. Throughout the novel, characters struggle with deep loss, falling in love, and moving on after a tragedy.

The novel's central mystery made my gall rise; mostly because issues
J.S. Dunn
Jun 22, 2017 rated it liked it
A somewhat familiar tale: foreigner with perfect Chinese-language skills and a fixation on Asian women. Throw in a theme of present day corruption as China strives to put a wide-screen TV in every apartment and proliferating cars obliterate the landscape. Well, what's left of the landscape after it was deforested and polluted.

The main character Paul's self fixation doesn't end and one is almost continuously treated to overwritten angst as he dissects his every move and emotion but remains
D.J. Adamson
May 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Probably anyone could sit down and ink out a story if they put their mind to it. But there are only those most talented who can show as story as well as tell in language that penetrates beyond the emotional word. Sendker offers that excellence in this suspenseful of a journey of discovery in a world of Chinese politics.
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Aug 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Cultural Revolution in China left scars deeper than our Civil War. In easy prose, but with great detail of Hong Kong, Shanghai and Chinese villages, this is an intrigue, a romance, and a story of family healing after the horrors of Mao's nightmarish regime. Think of A Civil Action, but in a place where asking questions can get a whole family in deep trouble.
We see Chinese culture through the eyes and filter of Paul, an American who has lived in China for decades. He gets involved in solving
Kay Wright
Jul 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this novel of Hong Kong through the eyes of an expat who has lived there for decades but is caught in the sorrow of losing his child. His love for Christine, a Chinese woman from the mainland, and their trip to her native village to see her estranged brother form the knot that holds this lovely story together. There's a lot of Chinese government involvement over an environmental disaster that has destroyed the community and eventually violence against her niece and nephew. What ...more
Sep 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the second book in this series that features Paul Leibovitz, a German ex-pat who lives in Hong Kong. In this story, after a visit to mainland China, Paul believes he can help a family to uncover the mystery surrounding the sudden health crisis, and life-threatening illnesses, of several in their village. As he delves deeper and deeper into the possible environmental poisoning that may be occurring, Paul is shocked, and then appalled at his own naivety, in thinking that the Chinese ...more
May 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Without giving too much away, this reminded me of a Chinese version of Erin Brockovich (one of my favorite movies) dealing with an environment scandal here in the US. There are lots of hidden messages in the Chinese proverbs of I Ching, including coping with life to the best of our abilities. The differences between Chinese and Western cultures are apparent. But Sendker counters the harsh realities of the Cultural Revolution and the after-effects, with a tender love story, providing balance to ...more
Sarah Allen
Jun 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Set in Hong Kong, Shanghai, and in a very small village outside of Shanghai, this book has several stories and messages. The character descriptions are not long and yet I felt I knew their core beings. The writing is average as is the action but I could not put this book down because the characters were intriguing. Differences in western and Chinese cultures were highlighted to the detriment of neither.
LInda L
Jul 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book amazed me -- mostly because I have never enjoyed reading about China before, and because of the beauty of the writing, which was extraordinary. The story was one of Chinese politics and the attempted cover-up of an environmental disaster. The characters were magnificently described and none was unimportant. There was tragedy, deceit, and great love -- this book absolutely had it all. I have not read this author before, but I intend to now. This was just wonderful.
Nov 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's a glimpse of a different side to China.

I hear people in HK have concern for their future when it returns to China in 30 years. Even though C looks similar to HK in terms of capitalism, the govt is not a free govt.

There were a couple of lines (wish I read it in digital to mark them as I came across them) that I enjoyed as profound.
Nov 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I almost stopped reading The Language of Solitude because I felt the politics and environmental issues were getting in the way of the relationships of the characters. It was Sendker's characterizations that I loved in The Art of Hearing Heartbeats and A Well-Tempered Heart. However, Sendker's fluid writing style and his careful unveiling of each personage's actions, motivations, strengths, and weaknesses kept me reading. I came to appreciate the backstory of China then and now and of course the ...more
Jun 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
I was not sure what to expect from this book but have to say I very much enjoyed it. It reminded me in ways of Sarah's Key. I enjoyed seeing the differences and at different times clashes of culture. It was a great reminder of differences between not just individuals but also customs and how sometimes the law does not always protect those that need it and is at time a guideline depending on the circumstances.

I would definitely recommend this book.
Maria Delaney
Nov 14, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I stopped reading The Language of Solitude at around page fifty. The story was weak. Jan Philipp displayed poor writing skills. If I deleted every adverb used in the text, the book would be twenty pages shorter.

Jan Philipp saturated the story with adverbs and words considered as writing taboo. The piece needed a talented developmental editor to correct the issues prior to hitting the shelves.
Sep 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This author is one of the best i have ever read. This author fills your heart and soul with words and images through his amazing storytelling. I will read every book he ever writes just to hear with what words he writes next.

This story itself was amazing. It was about China and the Communist party and a little village and the hardships they faced and makes you understand through the story that love and sadness and joy are what makes people have some of the sameness.
Sep 26, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the second book I read, in a row, by the author because I liked the first book, but my complaint is the same for this one. There's a great story... until it's not. And, suddenly, everything gets summed up and the conclusion is told to the reader - you never get to see it unfold or climax - and then the book ends. It's a little unsatisfying.
Jul 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Every time I discover the new book by this author it is a fantastic read. I recommended his books to numerous customers and friends. He writes about China in a unique way, his language is very special especially as the book was originally written in German.
Here is a very talented writer who takes you on a journey that stays on your mind for a long time.
Beth Kent
Mar 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: asian-literature
A bit sick of the whole trope "White man who likes asian women who happens to be fluent in Mandarin and Cantonese and English and German who can literally do anything"
But this is actually a great book, gives a great insight into Chinese culture and government, and the main character was surprisingly likeable.
Sep 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A quick read. Author is to the point. A glimpse (and somewhat a surprise) into today's China. I like how there are a couple of plot twists, some highly unexpected. An honest look into China and cultural barriers. At times enjoyable and at times horrifying.
Stephanie Crowe
Feb 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Sendker does not disappoint. This second Chinese mystery follows another adventure of Paul Leibovitz as he gets involved in solving the mysterious death of his girlfriend's sister-in-law. I loved the story and could not put it down.
The synopsis was inviting, made me expect a little too much. The story itself was good, the author could have spent a little more time taking risks and patient enough to write more on the details of the "scandal". I felt the ending was really rushed and wrapped up way too nicely.
Erin Wyman
Jul 16, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, asia
I was drawn to this book for the author and the premise, and really enjoyed the first 3/4 of the book, but felt the end was rushed and disjointed. Perhaps I lost interest and that is why it became disjointed.
Oct 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4 stars. Suspenseful. Investigation into mysterious illness unveils modern day Chinese policies and politics — communism with a thirst/greed for money—interesting blend of love story and murder mystery
Karen Raskin
Oct 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A solid 4 for me. Exotic locale, well written, suspenseful, lots of atmosphere. Not so keen on Christine, a character who was not fully developed. Also, the ending was both rushed and an little over the top.
Patricia Marson
Apr 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Looking for something different?

This book is a page-Turner. An incredible storyline, almost unbelievable but could well be true so you just need to get to the end. Wonderful writing and I can't wait to read the next book by Sandra Ireland.
Cari Noga
Dec 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The very best kind of thriller, with emotion at its heart. I enjoyed Sendker's The Art of Hearing Heartbeats several years ago and was engrossed with this novel, kind of an "Erin Brokovich" set in China, from start to finish.
Carol Siu
Sep 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful. Really enjoyed this book.
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Jan-Philipp Sendker, born in Hamburg in 1960, and, longing to travel the world, became the American correspondent for Stern from 1990 to 1995, and its Asian correspondent from 1995 to 1999. In 2000 he published Cracks in the Great Wall, a nonfiction book about China. The Art of Hearing Heartbeats is his first novel, and since then, he has written 3 further novels, including a sequel to "The Art of ...more

Other books in the series

The Rising Dragon (3 books)
  • Whispering Shadows
  • Am anderen Ende der Nacht (Die China-Trilogie, #3)