Yiyun Li’s first novel “The Vagrants” is about the experience of outsiders, people who watch the main event from a distance and respond in ways that are sometimes perfectly sensible —motivated by hunger, loneliness, anger and love — and sometimes completely inscrutable. Her another story-collection called “A Thousand Years of Good Prayers”, which made her won a heap of awards, the whitin Writer’s Award for emerging authors, the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award, the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award and the Guardian first book award.

A Thousand Years of Good PrayersThe movie “A Thousand Years of Good Prayer”, based on a story from this story-collection, was released in theatres on September 19, 2008, and today, May 26, 2009, is the date to release DVD.

The Book “A Thousand Years of Good Prayer: Stories by Yiyun Li” is published by Random House in September 2005 (ISBN-13: 9781400063123), 224pp. For your convenience, here I attach a pdf file of the short story, “A Thousand Years’ of Good Prayers pdf

Li, now an assistant professor of English at University of California, Davis, said, “I just can’t live in China. Not because I don’t love the country. I just can’t write in China. I can’t explain it. It’s like, you can’t live with your mother. No matter how much you love your mother, you have to live away.” With China — as with mothers — distance from China offers Li the space to cultivate real intimacy with her characters.

A friend of mine clipped this piece of introduction to Yiyun Li from NEWSWEEK, on which a photo of her was named “The Outsider: Li at home in California”. I kept it in my daily planner for a long time, feeling that she has some intimacy with me, either because of her interest in “outsider”, or because of her words about her country and her mother. (Just yesterday, I posted a blog about living with my mum. :-P)

I wish I can also write a story of outsider as an outsider myself. I am an outsider in this country, USA; I am an outsider in my own country, China; I am an outsider in my ancestor’s country, Korea.

Where can  I sit down, and tell myself, “I am home”?

Another short story in this book, which I wanna recommend, is “Immorality”, read  Immorality (Yiyun Li) pdf.