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A luminous memoir about reading, writing and how to find meaning in a life.

'What a long way it is from one life to another. Yet why write if not for that distance?'

Written over two years while the author battled depression, in and out of hospital, Dear Friend is a painful and yet richly affirming examination of what makes life worth living. Interweaving personal memoir with a wide-ranging celebration of writers and books, this is a journey of recovery through literature.

From William Trevor and Katherine Mansfield to Kierkegaard and Larkin, Yiyun Li traces the themes that have preoccupied these writers and herself: time and transformation, presence and absence, the impulse to abandon life and the impulse to carry on. Drawing on personal experiences - her unstable mother, her time in the Chinese army - she constructs a beautiful, interior exploration of selfhood and what is required to choose life.

Reviews

A remarkable account of literary life from an important and gifted writer

Marilynne Robinson

Poignant and insightful. Explores harrowing subjects, but Li writes beautifully. A compelling insight into a fragile but endlessly inquisitive mind

Sunday Times

Heart-rending, profound. A terribly beautiful gift to the reader

Neel Mukherjee, New Statesman

As powerful as any of her award-winning fiction. A personal anatomy of melancholy

Financial Times

Reveals, gloriously, the companionship, intimacy, and insight that can come from obsession with the written word

LA Review of Books

Extraordinary. A storyteller of the first order

Junot Diaz

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Formats & editions

  • Paperback

    9780241978665

    March 15, 2018

    Hamish Hamilton

    RRP $22.99

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Dymocks
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • The Nile
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • Hardback

    9780241283950

    April 15, 2017

    Hamish Hamilton

    176 pages

    RRP $39.99

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Dymocks
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • The Nile
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook

    9780241978672

    March 23, 2017

    Penguin eBooks

    Online retailers

    • iBooks
    • Amazon Kindle
    • Booktopia
    • eBooks
    • Google Play
    • Kobo
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

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Everything to Live For
The Republic
The House on the Hill
The Odyssey
Hooked
When Breath Becomes Air
In Order To Live
The Choice
Mindhunter
Lion: A Long Way Home