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.
Winner of Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award 2005. Shortlisted for Orange Award for New Writers 2006.
'Li's writing is beautifully spare and controlled.' 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
Yiyun Li grew up in Beijing, China, and came to the Unites States in 1996. She is the recipient of several prizes for her writing and an M.F.A. from The University of Iowa Writers' Workshop, Li's stories have been published in The New Yorker, The Paris Review and elsewhere. She lives in Iowa City with her husband and their two sons.