Grove Press
Grove Press
Grove Press

Nine Continents

A Memoir In and Out of China

by Xiaolu Guo

National Book Critics Circle’s Award Winner for Autobiography, Xiaolu Guo’s memoir documents her trajectory from a small fishing village in rural China to life in the West as a fearless writer and filmmaker.

  • Imprint Grove Paperback
  • Page Count 400
  • Publication Date November 20, 2018
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-2867-6
  • Dimensions 5.5" x 8.25"
  • US List Price $16.00
  • Imprint Grove Hardcover
  • Page Count 384
  • Publication Date October 10, 2017
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-2713-6
  • Dimensions 5.5" x 8.25"
  • US List Price $26.00

About the Book

Xiaolu Guo is one of the most acclaimed Chinese-born writers of her generation, author of A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers and I Am China. 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. From a fishing village shack on the East China Sea to a rapidly changing Beijing, to a life beyond China, Nine Continents presents a fascinating portrait of how the Cultural Revolution shaped families, and how the country’s economic ambitions have given rise to great change. Nine Continents confirms Xiaolu Guo as one of world literature’s most urgent voices.


“Vivid—and funny . . . [Xiaolu Guo] has done far more than simply ‘survive’ the hardships and dislocations of her life. She has triumphed . . . Nine Continents shows the rewards of listening to an unleashed voice remembering and speaking with full freedom.” —Wall Street Journal

“It is the journey through heady, whiplash times that helps us understand where the nation is going . . . Perhaps [her elegy] for vanished homes in China required distance to write. . .  A laojia [old home] exists not so much on a map but in the heart.” —The New York Times

“Guo is a bolder, angrier and more ambitious figure than her forebears . . . A subtle achievement of language . . . [with] a wry, matter-of-fact, bittersweet tone that accommodates the pathos and cruelty of her story without lapsing into self-pity.”—The Times (UK)

“This is autobiography as Bildungsroman or indeed as Künstlerroman . . . Aside from the fast-paced plot, this is most interesting for its probing portrayal of Guo’s ambivalent relationship with her homeland . . . Moving and often exhilarating.” —Financial Times (UK)

“The most compelling Chinese memoir since Jung Chang’s Wild Swans . . . Guo’s writing is more personal and poetic than Chang’s crisp, scholarly prose—and more openly angry . . . She’s refreshingly fierce and funny about the flaws she finds in British culture.” —Telegraph (UK) (5 stars)

“By turns raw, intelligent, compelling, sad, uncompromising and reticent . . . Guo’s talent is to highlight all those things about China that make it so different while simultaneously making it somehow seem both familiar and comprehensible.” —South China Morning Post (Hong Kong)

“Guo is . . . rebellious, flamboyant and fundamentally optimistic . . . Some of Guo’s narratives of herself are staggering . . . Fascinating.” —Scotland on Sunday (UK)

“This autobiography is her account of fiery, artistic defiance and a testament to the act of storytelling . . . Guo writes in the audacious, restless and fragmented prose that has become her imprint: a feverish style that can be as merciless as the world she portrays . . . [A] penetrating writer.” —New Statesman (UK)


Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award
Shortlisted for the Rathbones Folio Prize
Shortlisted for the Costa Biography Award