Author: Yiyun Li
Publisher: Harper Collins (FSC)
Yiyun Li’s latest offering, “Wednesday’s Child,” is a mesmerizing collection of short stories that spans a decade, delving into the intricacies of loss, alienation, ageing, and the peculiarities of contemporary life. Known for her prize-winning novel, “The Book of Goose,” Li returns to her roots as a master storyteller, weaving tales that are tender yet unsentimental, metaphysical yet blunt, and brimming with both wisdom and unnerving beauty.
The stories within “Wednesday’s Child” are a testament to Li’s unparalleled ability to capture the complexities of human existence. From a grieving mother meticulously documenting her losses in a spreadsheet to a professor navigating a complicated intimacy with her hairdresser, Li’s characters grapple with the ordinary until it becomes unsustainable. The narratives crack open, revealing profound and mysterious forces at play – death, violence, and estrangement. Even in the seemingly mundane, Li imbues everyday life with meaning, highlighting indelible details like a stolen jar of honey, a mound of wounded ants, or a long-hidden photograph that must finally see the light of day.
Li’s writing is a delicate alchemy of opposites, seamlessly blending the tender with the unsentimental, the metaphysical with the blunt, and the funny with the horrifying. Her omniscient narrative voice navigates the depths of human experience while acknowledging the vast expanse of the unknown. The author’s ability to explore the true cost of living is evident throughout the collection, and each story resonates with her trademark combination of unnerving beauty and searing wisdom.
The inclusion of a remarkable novella, previously unpublished in the UK, adds an extra layer of intrigue to the collection. As readers traverse the landscapes of Li’s stories, they are treated to a kaleidoscope of emotions and reflections on the human condition. The profound impact of each tale lingers, leaving an indelible mark on the reader’s psyche.
In “Wednesday’s Child,” Yiyun Li proves once again why she is a literary force to be reckoned with. Her ability to capture the essence of life’s complexity, coupled with her unmatched storytelling prowess, makes this collection a must-read for those who appreciate the nuance and depth of short fiction. As Li articulates the true cost of living through her characters, readers are invited to contemplate the beauty and challenges inherent in the human experience, making “Wednesday’s Child” a poignant and unforgettable literary journey.
Best wishes to the author!
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