Reviews of Gold Boy, Emerald Girl
Li's insights into Chinese culture make her stories fascinating reading. But the greatest pleasure comes from the admirable elegance of her work. Her writing is lyrical, circular and finely etched, with an emotional impact that both satisfies and surprises.
The New York Observer
Ms. Li's collection is filled with the conflict, and ultimate harmony, between the expansive and the miniscule.
The New York Times Book Review
This description of how art affects us ó the way it stuns the clamorous world into silence on our behalf ó echoes throughout Yiyun Liís stories, which themselves have the power to create hushed intervals that resonate with emotion.
Time Out New York
A portrait of humanity with characters making life-altering decisions.
Cleveland Plain Dealer
'Gold Boy, Emerald Girl' from Yiyun Li is starkly wondrous fiction.
These beautiful stories present several generations of Chinese characters living in a culture that has undergone tremendous changes.
At the heart of this hugely impressive collection is Li's delicate weighing up of silence versus speech, her acknowledgment of the uselessness of words in the face of violence and repression.
Though each story takes place in modern-day China, they are formally rigorous and crafted with an elegance that harkens back to stylists like Chekhov and William Trevor. At the same time, the contemporary settings and Liís modern sensibility bring freshness to old themes.
San Francisco Chronicle
Reading Li recalls an experience of brooding about the past - painful, disturbing but accepted and rationalized with a mixed sense of wonder and helplessness
The Independent (UK)
To read any one of these stories is to receive proof of Li's mastery. Our young selves, Li seems to say in these stories, are too often poor guardians of our older ones. It's a truth; and in Gold Boy, Emerald Girl, it's a truth beautifully expressed.
With serpentine beauty, Li's stories wind around the wreckage of multiple marriages, lonely only children, and old men wedding women 30 years younger than them. From these seminal situations, Li's characters, and perhaps her readers, emerge a bit sadder and that much wiser.
A mind blowing author imports stories that nix the glitz for a moving look at love and loss.
Publishers Weekly (starred review)
The nine brilliant stories in Li's collection (after The Vagrants) offer a frighteningly lucid vision of human fate.
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
A stellar assortment of stories about struggles to escape and connect in contemporary China. Further proof that Li deserves to be considered among the best living fiction writers.