by Yiyun Li
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Pub Date 5 Sep 2023 | Archive Date Not set
4th Estate and William Collins, Fourth Estate
A dazzling new collection of short stories written over a decade, spanning loss, alienation, ageing and the strangeness of contemporary life – from Yiyun Li, the prize-winning author of The Book of Goose
A grieving mother makes a spreadsheet of everyone she’s lost. A professor develops a troubled intimacy with her hairdresser. And every year, a restless woman receives an email from a strange man twice her age and several states away. In Yiyun Li’s stories, people strive for an ordinary existence until doing so becomes unsustainable, until the surface cracks and grand mysterious forces – death, violence, estrangement – come to light. And even everyday life is laden with meaning, studded with indelible details: a filched jar of honey, a mound of wounded ants, a photograph kept hidden for many years, until it must be seen.
Li is a breathtakingly original writer, an alchemist of opposites: tender and unsentimental, metaphysical and blunt, funny and horrifying, omniscient and yet acutely aware of just how much we cannot know. Beloved for her novels and memoirs, she returns here to her earliest form, gathering short stories and a remarkable novella never before published in the UK. Taken together, the stories in Wednesday's Child articulate the true cost of living with all Li’s trademark unnerving beauty and searing wisdom.
‘Quiet, subtle and often agonisingly wrenching … Li explores the brittle fractures within the human heart … A shimmering meditation’ Financial Times
‘Strands of melancholy are braided through Li’s tender, thoughtful stories’ Daily Mail
‘Against the backdrop of threat, Li’s characters meditate coolly on meaning and mortality’ Observer