New release! A new collection—about loss, alienation, aging, and the strangeness of contemporary life—by the award-winning, and inimitable, author of The Book of Goose.
A grieving mother makes a spreadsheet of everyone she’s lost. Elsewhere, 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 the 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 truly original writer, an alchemist of opposites: tender and unsentimental, metaphysical and blunt, funny and horrifying, omniscient and unusually aware of just how much we cannot know. Beloved for her novels and memoirs, she returns here to her earliest form, gathering pieces that have appeared in The New Yorker, Zoetrope, and elsewhere. Taken together, the stories in Wednesday's Child, written over the span of a decade, articulate the cost, both material and emotional, of living—exile, assimilation, loss, love—with her trademark unnerving beauty and wisdom.
By Yiyun Li. Hardcover. 256 pages. Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2023.