by Yiyun Li
$25.00 List Price
In 1979, when Yiyun Li was six years old, a group of Chinese human rights activists posted nineteen articles on a brick wall in Tiananmen Square. No one knew how the Communist Party would respond. The Cultural Revolution had recently ended, and the constitution guaranteed freedom of speech—but only for members of the party. Everyone else remained silent or, better yet, became invisible.
In her debut novel, The Vagrants, Li, winner of the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award and the pen/Hemingway Award, returns to the story of China in the spring of ’79. She sets her tale amid the semi-urban sprawl of a place called Muddy River, which is modeled on her husband’s hometown. The real town’s name has since been changed to White Mountain, because, as Li said in an interview, the name Muddy River is so
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