Dora's Reviews > The Vagrants

The Vagrants by Yiyun Li
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Jun 23, 10

Read in June, 2010

I really wanted to like this book. I'm particularly interested in this era of China, and in general I love reading fiction that takes place in a culture with extreme political change.

In some ways, this novel gave me a bit of what I was looking for- a portrait of life in an ever-changing cultural landscape, where attitudes and traditions all mean something new entirely.

But unfortunately, it was just far too bleak for me personally. I am not saying I need sugar-coating; many of my favorite books are real and gut-wrenching and such... this was just too much. While the author painted a very real picture of their desperation, I simply found the characters unlikable. And there was too much grim violence and ugliness without much redemption or comeuppance. Violence against dogs, in particular, is something I am just not comfortable reading about.

Perhaps other people would love this book, and I could understand why if they did. But it just wasn't for me.
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