Yiyun Li spoke to Rosemarie Ho at the Nation about her most recent book, Where Reasons End, a novel that many critics are labeling autofiction. When describing the process of writing the book, Li sees herself as more of an impartial reporter than a novelist. “You can never get as precise as you want in writing,” Li says. “It’s always just getting as close as you can. For me, precision in writing is one of the most important things. But again, I always have to acknowledge at some point that I can never get as close as I want, that I can only get a proximity to precision.”
“I try to edit my work in different states of mind. So I’ll go running on a really hot day and then read the 2,000 words I just wrote. Or if I’m upset, or really sleepy, or if I’m drunk, I’ll read this stuff. If you’re sleepy and you find yourself skipping over a paragraph because you’re bored by it and just want to get to the interesting part, it comes out. Those different states of mind are a really interesting filter.” Writing advice from Sebastian Junger.
The much discussed Fifty Shades of Grey arrives as a paperback today, though one wonders if readers will be as willing to read it if they must shed the privacy of the e-reader. Also out is the gorgeous retrospective, The Art of Daniel Clowes. The Forgotten Waltz by Anne Enright and MAN Asian Literary Prize winner Please Look After Mom by Kyung-Sook Shin are new in paperback.