Synopses & Reviews
A brilliant writer imagines a fictional conversation between a mother and the teenage son she lost to suicide. Yiyun Li confronts grief and transforms it into art, in a book of surprising beauty and love.
The narrator writes, "I had but one delusion, which I held onto with all my willpower: we once gave Nikolai a life of flesh and blood; and I'm doing it over again, this time by words."
Written in the months after the author lost a child to suicide and composed as a story cycle, this conversation between mother and child unfolds in a timeless world. Deeply intimate, poignant, and moving, these conversations portray the love and complexity in a relationship across generations, even as they capture the pain of sadness, longing, and loss.
In writing this book, Yiyun Li was inspired by a line from Proust's Remembrance of Things Past "Ideas come to us as the successors to griefs, and griefs, at the moment when they change into ideas, lose some part of their power to injure the heart; the transformation itself, even, for an instant, releases suddenly a little joy."
Meeting life's deepest sorrow with originality, precision and poise, Where Reasons End is suffused with intimacy, inescapable pain, and fierce love.
A fearless writer confronts grief and transforms it into art, in a book of surprising beauty and love, "a masterpiece by a master" (Elizabeth McCracken, Vanity Fair
"Li has converted the messy and devastating stuff of life into a remarkable work of art."--The Wall Street Journal
NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST FICTION BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY TIME AND ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY PARUL SEGHAL, THE NEW YORK TIMES AND NPR
The narrator of Where Reasons End writes, "I had but one delusion, which I held on to with all my willpower: We once gave Nikolai a life of flesh and blood; and I'm doing it over again, this time by words."
Yiyun Li meets life's deepest sorrows as she imagines a conversation between a mother and child in a timeless world. Composed in the months after she lost a child to suicide, Where Reasons End trespasses into the space between life and death as mother and child talk, free from old images and narratives. Deeply moving, these conversations portray the love and complexity of a relationship.
Written with originality, precision, and poise, Where Reasons End is suffused with intimacy, inescapable pain, and fierce love.
Praise for Where Reasons End
"Where Reasons End belongs to a band of books produced in the forge of intense pain; their authors, aristocrats of suffering -- think of The Year of Magical Thinking and Blue Nights, Joan Didion's memoirs of the deaths of her husband and daughter in close succession. . . . For Li, to apply her own language to suicide means to understand suicide as the most private of decisions, to address it without cheap sentiment or condemnation. . . . As the title alerts us, this book takes place in a territory beyond reason, in all its connotations--beyond explanation or understanding. The mother does not require them. In the final reckoning, there is nothing she needs from Nikolai other than his company, his ghost; to carry him for a moment more, to keep the story going."--The New York Times
"This expansive, heartfelt examination of grief in novel form moves through a series of conversations between the mourning mother and her elusive, yet vividly present son. This utterly original novel will move anyone who has experienced loss in any form."--Jan Weissmiller, Forbes
"Yiyun Li's gutting novel imagines a conversation between a mother and child, months after the child's suicide. The prose is ethereal and electric, radiating unthinkable pain and profound love."--BuzzFeed