A Thousand Years of Good Prayers

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9780007196623: A Thousand Years of Good Prayers

Brilliant and original, 'A Thousand Years of Good Prayers' introduces a remarkable first collection of stories about China from an author set to become a major literary talent. In this extraordinary first collection, Yiyun Li brings us a modern China facing up to a complex history of repression and guilt. In 'Immortality', winner of the Paris Review prize, a young man bears a striking resemblance to the dictator, and so finds a strange kind of calling. In 'Extra', first published in the New Yorker, a Chinese woman, alone in middle age, befriends a young boy who has become an outcast in a remote country school. In their friendship, we see how love can begin to overcome the strictures that dominate their lives. In turn horrifying and breathtakingly lyrical, Yiyun Li, a new and talented young Chinese writer, confronts the silence that dominated the history of her country, and illuminates how mythology, politics, history and culture intersect with personality. She leaves us with an enduring vision of a country undergoing tremendous change.

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About the Author:

Yiyun Li grew up in Beijing and came to the United States in 1996. Her debut collection, A Thousand Years of Good Prayers, won the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award and Guardian First Book Award. Her novel, The Vagrants, was shortlisted for Dublin IMPAC Award. Her books have been translated into more than twenty languages. She was selected by Granta as one of the 21 Best Young American Novelists under 35, and was named by The New Yorker as one of the top 20 writers under 40. She lives in Oakland, California with her husband and their two sons.

Review:

'Li's writing is beautifully spare and controlled.' The Times 'Yiyun's confidence as a storyteller lends her fiction a traditional air, but there's nothing old fashioned about her perspective...When I've sampled other recent Chinese writing, I've had a sense of western publishers being seduced by the novelty of it all, snapping up authors with dramatic histories and slim talents. Yiyun is the real deal...Yiyun has the talent, the vision and the respect for life's insoluble mysteries to be a truly fine writer. Michel Faber, Guardian 'Great narrative skill...demonstrates that the best way to learn about people in a foreign culture is through good fiction.' Irish Times 'Li has a remarkable talent for telling the story of the whole of China through apparently insignificant lives.' New Statesman 'These mesmerising stories present a glimpse of modern China more nuanced than any reporter could ever hop to gleam.' Daily Mail 'Li's moving, engrossing stories are particular in their place...but universal in their themes and their relevance.' The Observer 'If you have ever wondered what life is like in modern China, but can't afford the airfare and lessons in Mandarin, you should read this book. In fact if you haven't given China a second thought, this is a collection of stories worth reading.' Impac News

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