Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Review: Gold Boy, Emerald Girl

With only three books under her belt, Yiyun Li has already received many accolades - she was voted one of The New Yorker's "20 Under 40," was selected as a 2010 MacArthur Foundation fellow, and was chosen as one of Granta's "21 Best Young American Novelists."  Impressive! 

Li was born in Beijing in 1972 and moved to the U.S. (currently an Oakland resident!) in 1996.  She was trained as an immunologist and came to the U.S. to study medicine.  She ultimately decided to pursue writing and got her MFA from the Iowa Writer's Workshop.  Gold Boy, Emerald Girl is a collection of short stories written with sensitivity and gravitas.  Li's work provides insight into Chinese culture, and while her stories are contemporary, events of the past often shape them.  Yiyun Li is undoubtedly a talented writer.  I can't say that I immensely enjoyed reading these stories, but I learned from them and appreciated their subtlety and power.

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