Historical Fiction

New: Yiyun Li’s The Vagrants

“Reads like reportage from hell,” raves The Sunday Times of Yiyun Li’s debut novel, The Vagrants. Set in China in 1979, The Vagrants begins with the execution of a counterrevolutionary and then expands its scope to include a protest of the killing and the subsequent crackdown. The Times calls it “a masterpiece of desolating intensity,” and compares Li to Tolstoy, Chekhov, Margaret Atwood, and (whew!) George Orwell, albeit with a caveat: “Orwell’s novel [1984] envisaged a nightmare that could happen; Li’s describes one that did.”