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  • Published: 23 March 2017
  • ISBN: 9780241978672
  • Imprint: Penguin eBooks
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 176

Dear Friend, From My Life I Write to You in Your Life




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.

  • Published: 23 March 2017
  • ISBN: 9780241978672
  • Imprint: Penguin eBooks
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 176

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Praise for Dear Friend, From My Life I Write to You in Your Life

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

LA Review of Books

Literature, the clash of public and private, human nature itself-these subjects and more are explored with remarkable subtlety and rare, limpid mental beauty. A must-read for anyone trying to stay sane in a world that might be perceived as insane

Mary Gaitskill, author of The Mare

Weaving sharp literary criticism with a perceptive narrative about her life as an immigrant in America

The Millions

An intimate memoir of darkest despair... A potent journey of depression that effectively testifies to unbearable pain and the consolation of literature

Kirkus

Quietly forceful, unrelenting... She unfolds an argument with the self, suspicious of the very concept , but not, ultimately, refuse its possibilities

Eula Biss

Novelistic scenes, limpid prose, subtly moving emotion... Personal reminiscences [and] literary meditations... Li explores ruptures in time, the difficulty of writing autobiographical fiction, the pleasures of melodrama

Publisher's Weekly

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