Gold Boy, Emerald Girl

Gold Boy, Emerald Girl

3.67 (2,178 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 

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The second collection of stories from Yiyun Li, author of the Guardian First Book Award-winning A Thousand Years of Good Prayers and The Vagrants.

The stories in this collection, like the stories in A Thousand Years of Good Prayers, are mostly set in China. The country portrayed here is the China of the 21st century, where economic development has led to new situations unknown to previous decades: residents in a shabby apartment building witnessing in awe the real estate boom; a local entrepreneur-turned-philanthropist sheltering women in trouble in her mansion; a group of retired women discovering fame late in their lives as private investigators specialising in extramarital affairs; a young woman setting up a blog to publicise the alleged affair of her father.

Underneath the veneer of prosperity and opportunity, however, lie the struggles of characters trying to reorient themselves in the unfamiliar landscapes of modern China: a widower, reminiscing about his wife, confronts a young unmarried woman purchasing condoms in a pharmacy; a new wife makes a plea to have a baby with her husband who was to be executed only to discover that she has become an instant celebrity; a middle-aged couple in America, who, upon losing their only daughter, return to their hometown in China to hire a young woman as a surrogate mother. These characters' fates are affected as much by the historical moments in which they reside as by the choices they make.

Yiyun Li's new collection of stories is a report from the front-line of a changing world, and confirms Li to be a writer not to be missed.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 256 pages
  • 129 x 198 x 15mm | 170g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0007303106
  • 9780007303106
  • 62,349

Review quote

Chosen as a Book of the Year by AS Byatt and Pankaj Mishra in the Guardian, and by the Sunday Times.

'Li was named by Granta as one of the best writers under 35, and she's fabulous - nobody else has such an instinct for the tension between tradition and modernity...Modern China convulsed by progress, is wonderfully evoked.' Times

'To read any one of these stories is to receive proof of Li's mastery. They are exquisitely made, and function with a vast, metronomic precision that eschews anything inessential.' Independent on Sunday

'Yiyun Li's beautifully crafted Munro-like stories of loss and betrayal show the human cost of living in a changing world.' Sunday Times

'Comparisons to Chekov and to William Trevor hold true ... Li is an exceptional writer.' Sunday Telegraph

'From its start you are reading in the presence of a bracingly clarified mind which produces prose of the utmost sparseness' Scotsman

'Attuned to every nuance of sadness, Li writes delicately about death, brutality and leave-taking' Independent
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About Yiyun Li

Yiyun Li grew up in Beijing and came to the United States in 1996. Her debut collection, A Thousand Years of Good Prayers, won the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award and Guardian First Book Award. Her novel, The Vagrants, was shortlisted for Dublin IMPAC Award. Her books have been translated into more than twenty languages. She was selected by Granta as one of the 21 Best Young American Novelists under 35, and was named by The New Yorker as one of the top 20 writers under 40. She lives in Oakland, California with her husband and their two sons.
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Rating details

2,178 ratings
3.67 out of 5 stars
5 19% (422)
4 39% (850)
3 32% (702)
2 8% (173)
1 1% (31)
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