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A Thousand Years of Good Prayers: Stories by…

A Thousand Years of Good Prayers: Stories (original 2005; edition 2006)

by Yiyun Li (Author)

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5151919,696 (3.89)37
Title:A Thousand Years of Good Prayers: Stories
Authors:Yiyun Li (Author)
Info:Random House Trade Paperbacks (2006), Edition: Reprint, 256 pages
Collections:Your library

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A Thousand Years of Good Prayers: Stories by Yiyun Li (2005)


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Showing 1-5 of 18 (next | show all)
This anthology of short stories was just okay for me. Set in China and the US, the various characters are mildly interesting, some more so than others. The author does write well, but I wasn't left with any particular liking of the book. Let's just say I didn't find it meaningful or moving. Not blaming the author; it just didn't suit my reading taste. ( )
  Zumbanista | Sep 15, 2017 |
short stories about modern China and Chinese diaspora. Incredibly hard-hitting, unforgettable. ( )
  sherribrari | Aug 25, 2017 |
Yiyun Li’s first collection of short stories reveals significant talent and consistency. Each of the ten stories is excellent, though perhaps the opening story, “Extra,” is the finest of the bunch. Li’s stories tend to concentrate on either subjugated life in China, or the less certain lives of immigrant Chinese in America. In most cases there is some form of inter-generational conflict. Ancient Chinese practices and beliefs clearly percolate through the muffling of communist societal reinvention. This raises numerous questions. What now is filial duty? How can romantic love — an individualistic emotion — be pursued? To whom does one owe allegiance if not to oneself? How can we judge whether a life is a good life?

Throughout the writing is crisp and slightly detached, especially in the more satirical pieces. There is a sense that these words have been chosen with care, patiently, and that they are presented with well-earned assurance. And even though there are few technical flourishes, the stories nonetheless have a solidity that warrants repeated reading.

Gently recommended. ( )
  RandyMetcalfe | Mar 11, 2017 |
Four Stars is high praise for short stories from me. I am not a fan of short stories and yet this collection of interesting and sometimes disturbing stories about Chinese and Chinese Americans captured my attention. Of particular interest to me were the stories that took place in China during its move to a free market economy. ( )
  brangwinn | Jul 7, 2016 |
I like the simple language of these stories, and there are several images I expect will stay with me, at least for a little while. I particularly enjoyed the title story, with its generational miscommunications. It's poignant to read about Mr. Shi, who wants so badly to connect with his daughter only to discover that while they speak the same tongue, they lack a shared language.

I also enjoyed the penultimate story in the collection, "Persimmons," with its disturbing picture of how reasoning happens amongst groups of people and how individuals' morals can shift when their physical or emotional comfort or safety is threatened.

Despite the language and the imagery, I'm not sure this book has touched me at any notable depth. I suppose time will tell, but for now I don't anticipate any lasting effects from reading it. It's possible I'm in too much of a novel mindset to really get into short stories.

I've been reading a lot from authors who are products of the Iowa Writers' Workshop; I think it might be time to branch out a little. ( )
1 vote ImperfectCJ | Jan 28, 2016 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Yiyun Liprimary authorall editionscalculated
Šenkyřík, LadislavTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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It's not easy to shut up in America. They value you not by what's inside you, but by what's pouring out of your mouth.
Women in their marriageable twenties and early thirties are like lychees that have been picked from the tree; each passing day makes them less fresh and less desirable, and only too soon will they lose their value, and have to be gotten rid of at a sale price.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 081297333X, Paperback)

Brilliant and original, A Thousand Years of Good Prayers introduces a remarkable new writer whose breathtaking stories are set in China and among Chinese Americans in the United States. In this rich, astonishing collection, Yiyun Li illuminates how mythology, politics, history, and culture intersect with personality to create fate. From the bustling heart of Beijing, to a fast-food restaurant in Chicago, to the barren expanse of Inner Mongolia, A Thousand Years of Good Prayers reveals worlds both foreign and familiar, with heartbreaking honesty and in beautiful prose.

“Immortality,” winner of The Paris Review’s Plimpton Prize for new writers, tells the story of a young man who bears a striking resemblance to a dictator and so finds a calling to immortality. In “The Princess of Nebraska,” a man and a woman who were both in love with a young actor in China meet again in America and try to reconcile the lost love with their new lives.

“After a Life” illuminates the vagaries of marriage, parenthood, and gender, unfolding the story of a couple who keep a daughter hidden from the world. And in “A Thousand Years of Good Prayers,” in which a man visits America for the first time to see his recently divorced daughter, only to discover that all is not as it seems, Li boldly explores the effects of communism on language, faith, and an entire people, underlining transformation in its many meanings and incarnations.

These and other daring stories form a mesmerizing tapestry of revelatory fiction by an unforgettable writer.

From the Hardcover edition.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:07 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Brillian 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.

(summary from another edition)

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