Four New Books About China
The New York Times’ Sunday Book Review focuses on China this week, with reviews of Li Yiyun’s The Vagrants; Xinran’s China Witness: Voices From a Silent Generation; Brothers by Yu Hua; and Postcards from Tomorrow Square by James Fallows. From Pico Iyer’s review of The Vagrants:
Like Ha Jin, this child of Communist China writes in English, initially for a Western audience; like Jin, too, she brings into our midst and language a sensibility and aesthetic that are plain, unblinking and at once haunted and supported by the ghosts of ancient stories. Li was born in Beijing in 1972, and came to this country (to study immunology — and then writing — at Iowa) in 1996. Though America does not feature in this first novel, as it did in her elegantly measured, PEN/Hemingway Award-winning 2005 book of stories, “A Thousand Years of Good Prayers,” there is no doubting that she is bringing her unimaginably alien experience into ours, if only to remind us that there are more things on heaven and earth than are dreamt of in our philosophy — and many of them may help to explain our formidable new ally/adversary across the Pacific.