Connor Smith's Reviews > The Vagrants

The Vagrants by Yiyun Li
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's review
Oct 07, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: chinese-authors, library2go
Read from October 07 to 08, 2011

There is one particularly impressive aspect of this book; the abundance of characters. The typical story works by getting you into the mind of one character. This story begins by getting you into the mind of one of the characters, then immediately pops into her husbands mind, then pops into an interesting passerby's mind, and then pops into... Through this technique, a cast of core characters are developed. But don't think they're the only characters; each of them is surrounded by even more characters (although you don't ever pop into their minds). The setting is a small city, and the author makes it feel completely inhabited. Granted, this technique isn't ideal for story telling. Sooner or later you'll tire of this popping around find a core character whose story you want to focus on. Nonetheless, it is an impressive and unique talent.

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