The much-anticipated first novel from the Guardian First Book Award-winning Chinese writer acclaimed by Michel Faber as having ‘the talent, the vision and the respect for life's insoluble mysteries to be a truly fine writer.’
In the provincial town of Muddy Waters in China, a young woman named Gu Shan is sentenced to death for her loss of faith in Communism. She is twenty-eight years old and has already spent ten years in prison. The citizens stage a protest after her death and, over the following six weeks, the town goes through uncertainty, hope, and fear until eventually the rebellion is brutally suppressed.
We follow the pain of Gu Shan's parents, the hope and fear of the leaders of the protest and their families. Even those who seem unconnected to the tragedy – an eleven-year-old boy seeking fame and glory, a nineteen-year-old village idiot in love with a young and deformed girl, and old couple making a living by scavenging the town's garbage cans – are caught up in remorseless turn of events.
Yiyun Li's novel is based on the true story which took place in China in 1979.
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‘The surface of Yiyun Li's prose is deceptively still, but just beneath the surface is the sadness, pain and tragedy of three lives … Her characters are portrayed with a harsh beauty, and one's emotions become deeply engaged with their fates … This is an exceptional novel and Yiyun Li has grown into one of our major novelists.’ Salman Rushdie
‘This riveting novel from our leading fictional informant on latterday China is a masterly investigation of personal and social damage wrought by the country’s recent history.’ Peter Kemp, Sunday Times, Books of the Year
‘Bold and unsettling … The messiness of the human condition is presented in all its complexity, with moral judgment often suspended in favour of a more nuanced probing of the way people respond to turbulent times … A finely wrought novel that never shrinks from laying bare the messiness and fragility of the human condition.’ Tash Aw, Financial Times
‘Yiyun Li has produced a thrilling mystery in “Kinder Than Solitude”’ Sunday Telegraph
‘A fine, taut Beijing novel’ James Lasdun, Guardian
‘A stunning, dark, and beautiful book. Yiyun Li writes with characteristic genius and hard, clear-eyed insight about characters ravaged by family and culture … Tragic and true and soul-wrenching … The reader’s own heart feels exposed, fragile, and all the more precious for having taken part in Li’s mysterious, artful novel.’ Paul Harding, author of ‘Tinkers and Enon’
‘I can't remember the last time I read a novel at once so relentless and elegant, so precise and ranging … A search light, blazing into every dark corner of its characters' psyches, and ours. I couldn't look away.’ Ayana Mathis, author of ‘The Twelve Tribes of Hattie’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.
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Book Description Fourth Estate, London, 2009. Hard Cover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. First Edition. A fine unread 1st impression in a fine dustwrapper. Bookseller Inventory # 007299
Book Description Harpercollins Publishers, 2009. Hardcover. Book Condition: Brand New. 352 pages. In Stock. Bookseller Inventory # zk0007196644