A luminous memoir from the award-winning author of The Vagrants and A Thousand Years of Good Prayers
'What a long way it is from one life to another. Yet why write if not for that distance?'
Startlingly original and shining with quiet wisdom, this is a memoir of a life lived with books. Written over two years while the author battled suicidal depression, Dear Friend is a painful and yet richly affirming examination of what makes life worth living.
Li grew up in China, her mother suffering from mental illness, and has spent her adult life as an immigrant in a country not her own. She has been a scientist, an author, an immigrant, a mother - and through it all, she has been sustained by a deep connection with the writers and books she loves. From William Trevor and Katherine Mansfield to Kierkegaard and Larkin, Dear Friend is a journey through the deepest themes that bind these writers together.
Interweaving personal experiences with a wide-ranging homage to her most cherished literary influences, Yiyun Li confronts the two most essential questions of her identity: Why write? And why live? Dear Friend is a beautiful, interior exploration of selfhood and a journey of recovery through literature.
Reveals, gloriously, the companionship, intimacy, and insight that can come from obsession with the written word
Literature, the clash of public and private, human nature itself-these subjects and more are explored with remarkable subtlety and rare, limpid mental beauty. A must-read for anyone trying to stay sane in a world that might be perceived as insane
Weaving sharp literary criticism with a perceptive narrative about her life as an immigrant in America
An intimate memoir of darkest despair... A potent journey of depression that effectively testifies to unbearable pain and the consolation of literature
Quietly forceful, unrelenting... She unfolds an argument with the self, suspicious of the very concept , but not, ultimately, refuse its possibilities
Novelistic scenes, limpid prose, subtly moving emotion... Personal reminiscences [and] literary meditations... Li explores ruptures in time, the difficulty of writing autobiographical fiction, the pleasures of melodrama
Publisher's description. A luminous memoir from the award-winning author of The Vagrants and A Thousand Years of Good Prayers. Startlingly original and shining with quiet wisdom, this is the record of a life lived with books and a richly affirming examination of what makes any life worth living.
Beautiful and profound... This book is a terribly beautiful gift to the reader
A remarkable account of literary life [from] an important and gifted writer... Her new book is a meditation on the fact that literature itself lives and gives life