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  • Published: 30 November 2021
  • ISBN: 9780241978689
  • Imprint: Penguin General UK
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 368
  • RRP: $22.99

Must I Go




Richly expansive and deeply moving, an intimate novel of secret lives and painful histories from the critically acclaimed author of Where Reasons End

Lilia Liska is eighty-one. She has shrewdly outlived three husbands, raised five children and seen the birth of seventeen grandchildren. Now she has turned her keen attention to a strange little book published by a vanity press: the diary of a long-forgotten man named Roland Bouley, with whom she once had a fleeting affair.

Drawn into an obsession over this fragment of intimate history, Lilia begins to annotate the diary with her own, rather different version of events. Gradually she undercuts Roland's charming but arrogant voice with her sharply incisive and deeply moving commentary. She reveals to us the surprising, long-held secrets of her own life. And she returns inexorably to her daughter, Lucy, who took her own life at the age of twenty-seven.

How does the past shape the future? How do we live in the face of the unanswerable? Must I Go considers these questions underlying an extraordinary life, exploring both the painfully finite nature of human life and the infinite depths of human beings.

  • Published: 30 November 2021
  • ISBN: 9780241978689
  • Imprint: Penguin General UK
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 368
  • RRP: $22.99

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Praise for Must I Go

A masterpiece. This book haunts me more than any other novel I've read in recent years

Garth Greenwell on Where Reasons End

This brilliant novel examines lives lived, losses accumulated, and the slipperiness of perception. Yiyun Li writes deeply, drolly, and with elegance about history, even as it's happening. She is one of my favorite writers, and Must I Go is an extraordinary book.

Meg Wolitzer

There is no writer like Yiyun Li, no one in contemporary literature who is as masterful at digging into the uncertainty of our existence on this earth. And Must I Go is sheer brilliance. Lilia Liska is one of the most arresting, strangely funny, and complex characters I've ever met . . . Li does something truly transformative. She remakes our world for us, so we can figure out how to keep living in it.

Kevin Wilson

Any new book by Yiyun Li is cause for celebration, but now more than ever do we need the clarity and humaneness of her vision. Must I Go takes us into her familiar and powerful emotional territory, brilliantly exploring how what we love, what we lose, and what we mourn make, unmake, and remake us into the human beings that we are.

Sigrid Nunez

A portrait of resilience like no other, Must I Go takes Yiyun Li-and the reader-into entirely new emotional territory. Bracing and almost unnervingly perceptive, this is wisdom literature for our time.

Gish Jen

Fierce and intransigent

Joyce Carol Oates

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