Kinder Than Solitude

Kinder Than Solitude

A Novel

Book - 2014
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A profound mystery is at the heart of this magnificent new novel by Yiyun Li, "one of America's best young novelists" ( Newsweek ) and the celebrated author of The Vagrants, winner of the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award. Moving back and forth in time, between America today and China in the 1990s, Kinder Than Solitude is the story of three people whose lives are changed by a murder one of them may have committed. As one of the three observes, "Even the most innocent person, when cornered, is capable of a heartless crime."
 
When Moran, Ruyu, and Boyang were young, they were involved in a mysterious incident in which a friend of theirs was poisoned. Grown up, the three friends are separated by distance and personal estrangement. Moran and Ruyu live in the United States, Boyang in China; all three are haunted by what really happened in their youth, and by doubt about themselves. In California, Ruyu helps a local woman care for her family and home, avoiding entanglements, as she has done all her life. In Wisconsin, Moran visits her ex-husband, whose kindness once overcame her flight into solitude. In Beijing, Boyang struggles to deal with an inability to love, and with the outcome of what happened among the three friends twenty years before.
 
Brilliantly written, a breathtaking page-turner, Kinder Than Solitude resonates with provocative observations about human nature and life. In mesmerizing prose, and with profound insight, Yiyun Li unfolds this remarkable story, even as she explores the impact of personality and the past on the shape of a person's present and future.

Praise for  Kinder Than Solitude
 
"This is an exceptional novel, and Yiyun Li has grown into one of our major novelists." --Salman Rushdie
 
"Yiyun Li infuses the traditional form with a fresh, rigorous beauty and a sense of permanence and increasing value." -- Mona Simpson, author of My Hollywood
 
"[A] sleek, powerful novel about the weight of memory, the brunt of loss and the myriad ways the past can crimp the soul . . . Li gives us gifts of gorgeous prose. . . . Rarely are ordinary humans given such eloquent witness." -- The Washington Post
 
"What makes [ Kinder Than Solitude ] so vivid is its humanity. . . . It is an inquiry into how the past scars us, shaping present and future, and some deeds, once committed, can never be undone." --Los Angeles Times
 
"[Li's] true gift . . . is old-fashioned storytelling [and] a sense that a life, a whole life, can be captured on pages." --The Boston Globe
 
"A stunning, dark, and beautiful book . . . Yiyun Li writes with characteristic genius." --Paul Harding, author of Tinkers and Enon
Publisher: New York : Random House, [2014]
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9781400068142
1400068142
Branch Call Number: Fic
Characteristics: 312 pages ; 25 cm.

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j
January1545
Aug 08, 2017

I don't usually mind if a book is sad or depressing, as long as it is well-written -- and this one is. But I did find it very gloomy, so beware if that kind of thing bothers you.

c
Candaceb108
Oct 16, 2016

Salman Rushdie complimented the author on her story telling, but she lost me. As another commenter mentioned, the characters desire to forget and stop feeling anything could reflect the aftermath of Tiananmen Square. But I think it is the state of the whole Chinese culture after the effects of Mao's Cultural Revolution. They are deadened, afraid, and greedy for material wealth.

u
uncommonreader
Nov 22, 2015

This novel tells the story of three people whose lives are overshadowed by the poisoning of a political activist and who seem only to want to forget. It serves as an allegory to the aftermath of Tiananmen Square and the subsequent forgetting of that political event in the turning to a more capitalist China. The descriptions of the lives of the two women in the US are too long and serve no purpose. Overall, disappointing.

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j
January1545
Aug 08, 2017

January1545 thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over

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