My Two Finds

This year I've made one find myself, and through a list found another author whose work I will pay close attention to in the future.

My own find: Yiyun Li.  I'm not claiming to be the first person reporting on her work.  Rather, I found her by picking up A Thousand Years of Good Prayers in the Libary. While not yet a perfect stylist, her stories lead to natural ephiphanies--unexpected light that throws the whole tale into a different perspective.  This is a rare and valuable gift.  Her novel, The Vagrants can be read a a recounting of the horrors of China after an abortive attempt at democracy, or, as much more challenging, the trials of people seeking meaning outside of love--the vagrancy of the title.  The whole novel centers around deep questions of what and how we mean to one another.

The other writer I found through a list in a recent issue of Bookmarks: Elinor Lipman.  She's witty, she's sly, she's smart about people, and she writes in a light way about heavy things.  She is a breath of fresh air in a literary world that has forgotten how to make meaning with a smile.  Perhaps the one serious writer intent on turning that frown upside down as she still shows us what makes for a deep and meaningful life.  I'll be reading everything I can find by her in the near future.

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