Dreaming In Chinese

Lessons in Life, Love and Mandarin

by Deborah Fallows

  • Published: 05 Apr 2012
  • Price: £8.99
  • Format: Paperback
  • Extent: 208p
  • ISBN: 9781780720852
  • Buy it now from Amazon.co.uk
  • Buy it now from Waterstones


In this intelligent, sympathetic book, Deborah Fallows opens up a window onto Chinese life through its notoriously difficult language. She shows how even small advancements, such as mastering a single word or phrase, can unlock grammatical and cultural secrets.

Whether it’s learning not to say ‘please’, or understanding why the Chinese hate the number 4, Fallows uses stories from three years of living and working in China, to offer unique insights into the country’s customs and culture.

This book will appeal to anyone with an interest in China, be they first-time tourists, seasoned business people, or just the idly curious. It will help you to think like the Chinese think.

“Any traveller who shudders at the prospect of deciphering Chinese should be armed with a copy of his book” – The New Yorker

“Fallows’ sparkling memoir makes us feel we are on the streets with her—haggling with merchants and cops and learning to be rude and friendly, Chinese-style… I can’t think of a better book for someone who wants to understand the lovable, infuriating and hilarious country that is China.”— David Ignatius, columnist for the Washington Post and author of Body of Lies

“China seems an impossible mountain to climb, yet Deborah Fallows takes a less travelled path, climbing the mountain from the inside… both vital and a joy to read.”—Ken Auletta

“In Dreaming in Chinese, Deborah Fallows opens up a window onto Chinese urban life through its notoriously difficult language. A charming and insightful book. —Susan Shirk, author of China: Fragile Superpower

“There is a fascinating story in these pages and a realisation of how the very syntax of language changes how we view our world”
<em>Catholic Herald</em>
“A must for those going to China. A delight for the rest of us.”
<em>The Lady</em>
Dreaming in Chinese is a book to appeal to anyone with an interest in China, be they first time tourists, seasoned business people, or even idly curious. Accessible, revelatory and entertaining, it is an able guide to discovering this extraordinary nation for oneself.”
<em>Business Destinations</em>

About Deborah Fallows

Deborah Fallows has lived in Shanghai and Beijing and travelled throughout China with her husband, the writer and journalist James Fallows. She is a Harvard graduate and has a PhD in Linguistics, and is author of A Mother's Work (Houghton Mifflin). When in the US, she and her husband live in Washington DC. They have two sons.