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The Book of Goose

A Novel

Yiyun Li

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

The Book of Goose Download image

ISBN10: 037460634X
ISBN13: 9780374606343

Hardcover

368 Pages

$28.00

CA$37.00

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Fabienne is dead. Her childhood best friend, Agnès, receives the news in America, far from the French countryside where the two girls were raised—the place that Fabienne helped Agnès escape ten years ago. Now, Agnès is free to tell her story.

As children in a war-ravaged, backwater town, they’d built a private world, invisible to everyone but themselves—until Fabienne hatched the plan that would change everything, launching Agnès on an epic trajectory through fame, fortune, and terrible loss.

Reviews

Praise for The Book of Goose

"Li, of course, has never been the kind of writer who tells you what you want to hear, and this is surely part of why she has become, while still in her 40s, one of our finest living authors: Her elegant metaphysics never elide the blood and maggots . . . The most propulsively entertaining of Li’s novels, The Book of Goose is an existential fable that illuminates the tangle of motives behind our writing of stories."—Megan O’Grady, The New York Times

“Li’s books render the world so sharply that they might draw blood, but they are also shot through, I think, with an extraordinary hopefulness . . . they possess a fullness, a deep love of both language and character.”—Lynn Steger Strong, Los Angeles Times

“Come for the writerly scheming, stay for the exquisitely calibrated examination of how our most tender and important bonds involve the manipulation of power and devotion.”—Bethanne Patrick, Los Angeles Times

“Haunting . . . The Book of Goose is a fascinating period piece . . . focused on the prickly relationship between [Li’s] two central characters . . . The Book of Goose itself is a spiky, scratchy, unsettling thing; and it’s all the more interesting and impressive for it. No sentimental tale of girlhood friendship, instead Li’s novel is deeply in tune with the complex perils and pleasures of a brutal, but sometimes beautiful world.”—Lucy Scholes, Financial Times

“Li narrates from the fringes of her own experience, subverting the notion that a writer should be bounded by her own identity, that identity is both personal property and territory to be defended. She insists on her own uncategorizable perspective, breaking rules in a sly, stubborn way . . . She specializes in the movements, feints and fragile suspensions of what she sometimes calls ‘life with a lid on’—borrowing a phrase from Bowen—stories capturing the richness and depth of inner life that is not guaranteed an outlet in action, or even outward expression.”—Alexandra Kleeman, The New York Times Magazine

“Not since John Knowles' A Separate Peace has a novel wrung such drama from two teens standing face to face on a tree branch.”—Kevin Canfield, Star Tribune

“Li has proven herself a master storyteller.”—Adrienne Westenfeld, Esquire

“A compulsively readable meditation on how our closest friendships harbor both love and hate—and how we can fail each other over and over again . . . Li’s crystalline, insightful prose adds incredible depth to the drama, yet the dynamic between the girls remains the complex heart of The Book of Goose.”—Sarah Rose Etter, BOMB

Yiyun Li’s extraordinary new novel is a multivalent exploration of friendship and love, experience and exploitation, fate and futility, the slippage between reality and artifice . . . brilliant.”—Carolyn Oliver, On the Seawall

“A subtly suspenseful and inventive novel of friendship, opportunism, fame, fantasy, success and survival.”BookBrowse

“Not since Elena Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend has a novel so deftly probed the magical and sometimes destructive friendships that can occur between two girls . . . The Book of Goose is an elegant and disturbing novel about exploitation and acquiescence, notoriety and obscurity, and whether you choose your life or are chosen by it.”—Lauren Bufford, BookPage (starred review)

“Exquisite . . . Knives, minerals, oranges, and the game of Rock Paper Scissors sneak into Agnès’ narrative as she relates the trajectory of a once-unbreakable union. The relative hardness of those substances is a clue to understanding it all. Stunners: Li’s memorable duo, their lives, their losses.”Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Bringing to mind Elena Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend, by way of Anita Brookner’s quietly dramatic prose, [The Book of Goose] makes for a powerful Cinderella fable with memorable characters. It’s an accomplished new turn for Li.”Publishers Weekly

Reviews from Goodreads

BOOK EXCERPTS

Read an Excerpt

YOU CANNOT CUT AN APPLE with an apple. You cannot cut an orange with an orange. You can, if you have a knife, cut an apple or an orange. Or slice open the underbelly of a fish. Or, if your hands are steady enough and the blade is sharp enough, sever...

About the author

Yiyun Li

Yiyun Li is the author of the novels Must I Go, Where Reasons End, Kinder Than Solitude, A Thousand Years of Good Prayers, The Vagrants, and Gold Boy, Emerald Girl; and the memoir, Dear Friend, from My Life I Write to You in Your Life. She is the recipient of many awards, including a PEN/Hemingway Award, a PEN/Jean Stein Book Award, a MacArthur Fellowship, and a Windham-Campbell Prize, and was featured in The New Yorker’s 20 Under 40 fiction issue. Her work has also appeared in A Public Space, The Best American Short Stories, and The O. Henry Prize Stories, among other publications. She teaches at Princeton University and lives in Princeton, New Jersey.

Yiyun Li

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