Yiyun Li lives in the United States, but she was raised in Beijing. In her new collection of short stories, A Thousand Years of Good Prayers, her native country becomes a silent character, quietly informing her writing. Li has an elegant way of delivering a story; both The New Yorker and The Paris Review have published her work and there is a gracefulness to her style, a subtlety that runs throughout.

In After a Life a couple learns what it is to sacrifice for love, while in Death Is Not a Bad Joke if Told the Right Way the young narrator comes to learn as an adult that, Things change a lot. Within a blink a mountain flattens and a river dries up. Nobody knows who he'll become tomorrow. There is wisdom hidden here, and it's told in prose gentle and quiet, yet so very strong and true.

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