By Mike Cormack
Dear Friend, From My Life I Write to You in Your Life
by Yiyun Li
This is a remarkable book, both as memoir and as Yiyun Li’s disavowal of the possibility of writing one. Dear Friend, From My Life I Write to You in Your Life explores the formation of the literary mind behind the novel The Vagrants (2009) and short-story collection A Thousand Years of Good Prayers (2005), and is seared with the pain and difficulties of such an undertaking. (If you ever wish to dissuade a child from pursuing a literary career, this book will do it).
As a memoir Dear Friend is neither sequential in progression nor narrative in form – nor is it organised by theme. Rather, slivers of anecdote and memory are developed into short musings, equivocation and pitiless self-excoriation (at one point Li notes, “The moment that I enters my narrative my confidence crumbles” – an extraordinary admission for a memoirist). She also discusses writers and their significance in her life, her writing and to her understanding of time, memory and loss. Read more
Source: South China Morning Post