December 28, 2005 |
Five years ago, Yiyun Li had a problem: How to persuade the literary world to take seriously a 28-year-old native Chinese speaker trying to write in English who had published exactly nothing and whose training consisted of a single adult-education class? Since then, the Beijing-born Li's career arc has been so steep it gives her peers vertigo. She's had stories published in prestigious magazines such as the New Yorker and the Paris Review.
February 22, 2009
As I read Scott Timberg's article about author Yiyun Li, ["Haunting Memories," Feb. 15], I couldn't quite figure out what it was that bothered me about what he wrote of Li until I got to the end when Timberg pointed out that Li's parents still live in China. Li wasn't self-deprecating; she was self-censoring. Ann Lau Los Angeles
November 13, 2005 |
----- Beasts of No Nation Uzodinma Iweala HarperCollins: 142 pp., $16.95 AGU is a young boy of unspecified age in an unnamed West African country. In English that is as broken and remade as the child himself, the protagonist of "Beasts of No Nation" tells of being dragged from a hiding place and recruited to fight by guerrilla soldiers who had attacked his village and killed his family. Under the brutal guerrilla leader Commandant, Agu and another boy, Strika, are trained and forced to kill.
February 28, 2014 |
Yiyun Li begins her second novel, "Kinder Than Solitude," in a place of endings: a crematorium. The time is the present, more or less, and a Beijing resident named Boyang waits for the ashes of his childhood friend Shaoai, dead at 43 after having been poisoned (accidentally or otherwise) 21 years before. "Who wanted her to die?" Boyang's mother asks when he visits after dropping off the woman's cremains with her family. "Who wanted to kill her back then?" These questions resonate throughout this novel, which moves fluidly between past and present, among Beijing, Massachusetts and the Bay Area, in tracing the intersecting lives of four people - Boyang, Shaoai and two other women, Ruyu and Moran - as they wrestle with both their complicity and their heritage.
February 15, 2009 |
In the late 1960s and throughout the 1970s, while the West was immersed in a revolution of personal liberation, China underwent another kind of upheaval, the Cultural Revolution, in which the state clamped down on bourgeois hedonism and targeted even the mildest of dissidents. This is the setting of "The Vagrants" (Random House: 338 pp., $25), the first novel by Yiyun Li, a Northern California writer regarded for her short stories -- a world of rooftop loudspeakers, of Maoist propaganda posters, of a couple charged for the bullet used to execute their renegade daughter.
March 2, 2007 |
The British literary magazine Granta announced Thursday the 21 writers who have made its second Best Young American Novelists list. The authors include some of the rising stars in the American book world.