I am a forty-one-year-old woman living by myself, in the same one-bedroom flat where I have always lived, in a derelict building on the outskirts of Beijing that is threatened to be demolished by government-backed real estate developers.
This is a powerful collection of stories by local author Yiyun Li. Most are set in 20th century China and certainly there is a strong sense of time and place. But the dominant feature of the stories are the characters. Li’s main characters are outsiders, people who in various ways have positioned themselves away from their family members, co-workers and the rest of society. They often have different expectations for their lives than the people around them and in many ways they are alone. Through these people Li explores the themes of fidelity, loyalty, family, responsibility, isolation and loss. Each is victim as well as hero and their stories were so attuned to the human experience they made me ache.
Check the BPL catalog for this title: Gold Boy, Emerald Girl