Not lost in translation

Two cups of light from Nicole Mones

By William Wetherall

First posted 31 October 2006
Last updated 1 November 2006

Nicole Mones, Lost in Translation, 1998
Nicole Mones, A Cup of Light, 2002


Nicole Mones
Lost in Translation
New York: Delacorte Press, 1998
370 pages, hardcover
New York: Delta, 1999
370 pages, paperback

French edition

La femme perdue
Traduit de lfanglais par Arlette Stroumza
Paris: France Loisirs, 1998
427 pages, hardcover
Paris: Pocket, 2005
430 pages, paperback

German edition

Die Jadefrau
Munchen: C. Bertelsmann, 1999
381 pages, hardcover
Munchen: Blanvalet/Bertelsmann, 2001
390 pages, paperback

Back cover blurb

At dawn in Beijing, Alice Mannegan pedals a bicycle through the deserted streets. An American by birth, she spends her nights in Beijing's smoke-filled bars, and the Chinese men she so desires never misunderstand her intentions. All around her rushes the air of China, the scent of history and change, of a world where she has come to escape her father's love and her own pain. It is a world in which, each night as she slips from her hotel, she hopes to lose herself forever.

For Alice, it began with a phone call from an American archaeologist seeking a translator. And it ended in an intoxicating journey of the heart -- one that would draw her into a perilous search for archaelogical treasure, plunge her into the vast, uncharted terrain of northwest China, and bring a man named Lin Shiyang into her life. As the expedition twists perilously through the violent history of China, as Alice and Lin slowly seek shelter in each other, an extraordinary series of events begins to unfold . . . in this haunting, utterly unforgettable novel.


Nicole Mones
A Cup of Light
New York: Delacorte Press, 2002
370 pages, hardcover
New York: Delta, 2003
296 pages, paperback

Italian edition

La fragile bellezza del passato
[The fragile beauty of the past]
Traduzione di Vincenzo Mingiardi
Vicenza: Neri Pozza Editore, 2002
288 pages (Collana: Le tavole d'oro)

French edition

Une coupe de lumiere
[A cup of light]
Monaco: Editions Du Rocher, 2004
268 pages, paperback

Back cover blurb

As an American appraiser of fine Chinese porcelain, Lia Frank holds fragile beauty in her hands, examines priceless treasure with a magnifying lens. But when Lia looks in the mirror, she sees the flaws in herself, a woman wary of love, cut off from the world around her. Still, when she is sent to Beijing to authenticate a collection of rare pieces, Lia will find herself changing in surprising ways . . . coming alive in the shadow of an astounding mystery.

As Lia evaluates each fragile pot, she must answer questions that will reverberate through dozens of lives: Where did these works of art come from? Are they truly authentic? Or are they impossibly beautiful forgeries -- part of the perilous underworld of Chinese art? As Lia examines her treasure, a breathtaking mystery unravels around her. And with political intrigue intruding on her world of provenance and beauty, Lia is drawn into another, more personal drama -- a love affair that could alter the course of her life . . . .