To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
A Thousand Years of Good Prayers: Stories Paperback – September 12, 2006
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Bookmarks Magazine
Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
If proof were ever needed that US MFA programmes don't necessarily churn out writing clones, Li amply provides it. (She attended the famous Iowa Writer's Workshop). Her writing is fresh, lyrical - yet at times deeply disturbing. The short stories did precisely what short stories should do: illuminate small lives in telling snapshots, walk around in your head long after the few pages that contained them are read, shake you up.
It wasn't the best holiday reading - the collection made me feel weighted with melancholy for all the tangled lives Li depicts and the necessary makeshift compromises her characters are forced to make. I found it hard to snap out of the little worlds Li creates.
Most of the stories take place in a rural and small town China struggling with economic change and the move to a more free-market econonomy.
All human messiness is here. In Love in the Marketplace a schoolteacher obsessed with the film Casablanca, is the victim of a broken promise. A stranger who arrives in the market place offering to slash his arm with a knife for money is the only person who seems able to honour his word.
Extra is a hugely compassionate story about a middle-aged woman made redundant from her garment factory job. There's no way Granny Lin can survive on her dwindling savings and she reluctantly accepts a marriage of convenience to a sick old man. When he dies, she takes a job as a cleaner in a private school where she befriends a lonely little boy as much a reject as she is. Through both encounters, her eyes are opened for the first time in her life to the possibility and nature of love.Read more ›
A Thousand Years of Good Prayers is full of such beautifully rendered stories.
In Princess of Nebraska, a Chinese man and a Mongolian woman traverse time and space in a quiet Michigan cafe while pondering their past relationship to the same man, Yang, a blithe narcissistic Beijing youth with a gift for singing Beijing opera.
In Love in the Marketplace, an English teacher in a rural village ponders a promise broken by two of the most important people in her life - her childhood sweetheart and her best girlfriend.
In story after story, the reader finds disappointment and a trail of hearts broken by modern life's adversities, lies, and unfulfilled dreams. The language of the book adds to an unadorned tone that is at once mercilessly unforgiving in description of human life and deeply sentimental and non-judgmental of the characters. Highly recommended!
I don't have doubts that communism in China was quite different than communism in ex Yugoslavia (where I grow up) and therefore all those rigidness Yiyun Li is talking about is unfamiliar for me. Indeed here there were blindness as well and rigidness and it possibly was dangerous to criticize regime but it was nothing like it has been described in this book.
I just couldn't get rid of the thoughts that author is living in USA is publishing book (which probably is in high percentage truth. An awful truth!) where is criticizing horribly something about huge majority of Americans (or Western world in general) don't have a clue but they "know" it's VERY bad; book about the country not very popular in USA; book with lot black/white comparison between China and America (of course China is always and only black while America is promised land and everything about it is absolutely fantastic). She used the language and topic that will find very fertile soil in America. She described China as a hell from which every thinking Chinese want to leave. Again that might be truth but there must be something good there; or at least some respect about the heritage the ones who fled in America brought with themselves. But then, she's not mentioning that. And that thought has had big influence in my general opinion about the book.Read more ›
A THOUSAND YEARS OF GOOD PRAYERS is filled with tales of family conflict and intergenerational relationships, stories of tragic ancestors, divorced and suicidal parents, adopted children, gay sons, unfaithful spouses, jilted lovers, unborn babies, and loveless marriages. Ms. Li's China is an unhappy place where families struggle to survive, accepting their fate and just trying to get by until their life's sentence on Earth has been served. Happiness is mostly transitory, inevitably followed by a return to the harsh punishments of reality. Li's America is little better, a place where people may live more comfortably but still fail to connect in meaningful ways. In her world, no one seems to have amassed enough good prayers.
In her opening story, "After," Ms. Li presents the late-in-life story of Granny Lin, a spinster who is just leaving her bankrupt factory, carrying her "honorable retirement" certificate in her stainless steel lunch pail.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a compilation of short stories. Each one is very good. I really enjoyed this book.Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
Four Stars is high praise for short stories from me. I am not a fan of short stories and yet this collection of interesting and sometimes disturbing stories about Chinese and... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Nelda Brangwin
The stories are about day to day life of common people. They are real and at times very sad. Life is not always a bed of roses but some people really face the harsher side of... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Pen Name
I had to read this for my Literature class in college last semester. I was very iffy about it because I hate to read and it seemed really long. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Jann
I got this for an English 102 required reading and I wasn't too excited when I heard "collection of short stories" but this was great. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Gabrielle
Worth one story alone. "Extra" will tell you everything you need to know about love.Published 19 months ago by Mattie Eggers
This book has an excellent quality!!! I am definately an Amazon fan now!Published 20 months ago by Yingzi