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A Thousand Years of Good Prayers Summary and Reviews

A Thousand Years of Good Prayers

Stories

by Yiyun Li

A Thousand Years of Good Prayers by Yiyun Li X
A Thousand Years of Good Prayers by Yiyun Li
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About this book

Book Summary

Brilliant and original, A Thousand Years of Good Prayers introduces a remarkable new writer whose breathtaking stories are set in China and among Chinese Americans in the United States. In this rich, astonishing collection, Yiyun Li illuminates how mythology, politics, history, and culture intersect with personality to create fate. From the bustling heart of Beijing, to a fast-food restaurant in Chicago, to the barren expanse of Inner Mongolia, A Thousand Years of Good Prayers reveals worlds both foreign and familiar, with heartbreaking honesty and in beautiful prose.

"Immortality," winner of The Paris Review’s Plimpton Prize for new writers, tells the story of a young man who bears a striking resemblance to a dictator and so finds a calling to immortality. In "The Princess of Nebraska," a man and a woman who were both in love with a young actor in China meet again in America and try to reconcile the lost love with their new lives.

"After a Life" illuminates the vagaries of marriage, parenthood, and gender, unfolding the story of a couple who keep a daughter hidden from the world. And in "A Thousand Years of Good Prayers," in which a man visits America for the first time to see his recently divorced daughter, only to discover that all is not as it seems, Li boldly explores the effects of communism on language, faith, and an entire people, underlining transformation in its many meanings and incarnations.

These and other daring stories form a mesmerizing tapestry of revelatory fiction by an unforgettable writer.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. A beautifully executed debut collection of 10 stories explores the ravages of the Cultural Revolution on modern Chinese, both in China and America." - Publishers Weekly

"In her superb debut, Chinese American Yiyun Li pairs short stories about life in an increasingly capitalist yet still viciously repressive China with tales about Chinese immigrants and visitors to America." - Booklist

"No matter the theme - be it human redundancy in an overpopulated country or the complex nature of the parent-child relationship - these stories are complex, moving, and surprising. Highly recommended for all academic and public libraries." - Library Journal

"Some ungainly plotting, but the author is one to watch." - Kirkus

"Yiyun Li is a true storyteller. Great stories offer us the details of life on the riverbanks: birth, family, dinner, and love, all framing the powerful flow of terror, death, political change, the river itself. A Thousand Years of Good Prayers is as grand an epic and as tenderly private as a reader could wish." - Amy Bloom, author of Come to Me

"With great tenderness, tact, and humor, these stories open a world that is culturally remote from us, and at the same time as humanly intimate as if its people were our own family and their thoughts the thoughts that lie nearest our own hearts." - Marilynne Robinson, author of Gilead and Housekeeping

This information about A Thousand Years of Good Prayers was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Yiyun Li Author Biography

Yiyun Li is the author of six works of fiction—Must I Go, Where Reasons End, Kinder Than Solitude, A Thousand Years of Good Prayers, The Vagrants, and Gold Boy, Emerald Girl—and the memoir Dear Friend, from My Life I Write to You in Your Life. She is the recipient of many awards, including the PEN/Malamud Award, the PEN/Hemingway Award, the PEN/Jean Stein Book Award, a MacArthur Fellowship, and a Windham-Campbell Prize. Her work has also appeared in the New Yorker, A Public Space, The Best American Short Stories, and The PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories, among other publications. She teaches at Princeton University.

Link to Yiyun Li's Website

Name Pronunciation
Yiyun Li: ee-yoon lee

Other books by Yiyun Li at BookBrowse
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