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A Sheltered Woman

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  337 ratings  ·  48 reviews
The new mother, groggy from a nap, sat at the table as though she did not grasp why she had been summoned. Perhaps she never would, Auntie Mei thought. On the placemat sat a bowl of soybean-and-pig’s-foot soup that Auntie Mei had cooked, as she had for many new mothers before this one. Many, however, was not exact. In her interviews with potential employers, Auntie Mei alw ...more
ebook, New Yorker Online Fiction, 16 pages
Published March 10th 2014 by newyorker.com
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Average rating 3.73  · 
Rating details
 ·  337 ratings  ·  48 reviews


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Greta G
Oct 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
”Fortunate are those for whom everyone can be turned into a stranger.”

Auntie Mei works as a live-in-nanny for newborns and their mothers. As a rule, she moves out of the family’s house the day the baby turns a month old. She doesn’t want to get attached to the infants.
”When she moved on to the next place, she would leave no mystery or damage behind; no one in this world would be disturbed by having known her.”

Auntie Mei currently works for a new, young mother who doesn’t care much for her baby a
...more
Dr. Appu Sasidharan
Apr 24, 2021 rated it liked it
(Throwback Review) This book deals with the story of Aunt Mei, who works as a live-in nanny for newborns. She now works for a young mother who is struggling with postpartum depression. The author marvelously describes postpartum depression and mother's difficulty in looking after their children.
"Death does not take the dead away; it only makes them grow more deeply into you."
...more
Phakin
Nov 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
really short, but so beautiful.
Sarah
May 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Such a beautiful package. I really enjoyed the story and found her style so unique to other short story writers.
Milan/zzz
Oct 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: stories
"death does not take the dead away; it only makes them grow more deeply into you"

I must say I didn't expect I'll like this short story as much as I did. It's a really good characterization and not only of the mail character but also those who plays episodes even if they appear in a single sentence. Really, really good. The main story is interesting all right but the side stories are what I liked more. Definitively worth reading.
...more
Charlotte Jones
I've been interested in this short story for a while and decided to listen to it on audiobook through BookBeat. 

Despite being the equivalent of just 52 pages, there was a depth and a tension in this story that kept me intrigued from being to end. Auntie Mei is an enigmatic figure who is at times poignant as well as hilarious. There was no plot as such but the story was an interesting study of these characters and their experience as Chinese Americans. 

Overall I really enjoyed this short story bu
...more
Author-ization
Mar 24, 2017 rated it liked it
I enjoyed the simple, plain writing and will definitely consider reading more of Yiyun Li's work in the future.
But the big question is: Did Auntie Mei decide to steal Baby? *X-Files music plays*
...more
Aoi
Dec 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: contemporary
An enemy could be as eternally close as a friend; a feud could make two men brothers for life.

Quotable quotes for miles on end .. Haunting, superb characterization in just 16 pages.

Fortunate are those for whom everyone can be turned into a stranger
Lynai
Oct 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
My first Yiyun Li and I like how she depicts deep emotions without being melodramatic. More thoughts soon.
Stephy Simon
Aug 25, 2020 rated it liked it
It's a wonderful story told in a unique style. Aunt MEI is amazing. But I felt that the story ended abruptly. I was expecting more ...more
Caitlin (caitlinfullybooked)
3*

A fantastic short story
Azrul
Sep 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
"An enemy could be as eternally close as a friend; a feud could make two men brothers for life."

A thoughtful short story that can easily be finished in one sitting. Auntie Mei is a nanny who takes cares new mothers and their firstborn for only the first month, and then she moves on to the next place, the next client. Until she meets a mother who doesn't seem to care much about her baby.

Although the ending is a bit open (hence a lil bit less satisfying for me), the storytelling of the book is won
...more
Kristen
I really enjoyed this. I rarely feel this way about short stories but I actually wish this was longer. Auntie Mei was wonderful.
Laura
Dec 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020-challenge
I enjoyed this short read. There are so many layers to Auntie Mei. The story an unusual, interesting and disturbing story line.

"...no one in this world would be disturbed by having known her." The story left me a bit disturbed and not forgetting Auntie Mei at all.
...more
Lisa
Jul 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a lovely short story about a woman who works as a nanny and nursing coach for only the first month of a baby's life. ...more
Anne
Dec 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-english
''If knowing someone makes that person stay with you forever, not knowing someone does the same trick: death does not take the dead away; it only makes them grow more deeply into you.''
This is one of the best short stories I've ever read. It's not really because of what's happening in the story, it's because of the quotes. It's a short story, so you can't really get to know the characters well. I think this story could have been a best-seller if it was novel. Definitely would have liked if it w
...more
Sarah Hsu
Sep 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
It's haunting.. one of my favorite short stories so far.

Came to this short story after seeing that it was the winner of the Sunday Times Short Story Award and after reading Li's novel "Dear Friend, from My Life I Write to You in Your Life". Would highly recommend if you enjoy authors like Celeste Ng or other contemporary female AsAm writers

"Auntie Mei came from a line of women who could not understand themselves, and in not knowing themselves they had derailed their men and orphaned their child
...more
Hoda Marmar
Mar 11, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
This beautiful short story reads in one sitting. I enjoyed how well crafted the plot and characters are. This is a story about how one grand daughter is torn between the dramatic extraordinary world of her mother and grandmother, and the ordinary world she yearns for. How can one lead an abstract life? How can one be sheltered from or by the past? How much are we haunted by the people we never really understood or knew? How close are our enemies to us?
This story opened up a million questions in
...more
Nurul
Sep 02, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
it is a good companion for my 3.5 hours train ride even though i finished reading in less than 30 minutes.

about the story:- there were so many things packed beautifully in such a thin book. it is interesting to see how the main character, the baby sitter try to remain detached yet being affected from the same thing she want to be sheltered from; her surrounding and her childhood experiences.
Jannah
Oct 21, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Giving this the "it-was-okay" rating because its..... short...... Ok tbh, I actually enjoyed reading it compared to other short stories ive read before but i want more. I genuinely wanted to know more about the characters & their story. I guess i'm let down that the book was too short....
(Srsly what was i expecting???? Obviously its short bcs it is a short story!?!!!)
...more
Saruul Gan
Jan 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
My 1st story of Yiyun Li and definitely going to read more of her. I liked how she portrayed deep emotions, the preciseness of her writing, and story leaving little doubt after you read. I read this after skimming some of the reviews from people, who basically concluded the piece as an unfinished one. But after giving a try, it was completely different for me.
GZwick
Jul 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
I'm happy that, like everyone else, you'll all become the past soon. P40

Fortunate are those for whom everyone can be turned into a stranger P42

If knowing someone makes that person stay with you forever, not knowing someone does the same trick: death does not take the dead away; it only makes them grow more deeply into you. P46
...more
Mary Adeson
This is a story about the risks of human attachment, through the eyes of Auntie Mei who has chosen to be as detached as possible.

I found this story Fascinating as Auntie Mei is as cold as ice; sacrificing love in an attempt to avoid the mistakes of her mother Grandmother. Women who abandoned husbands and orphaned children.

I'm looking forward to reading more of Li's work.
...more
Colin
Aug 15, 2015 rated it liked it
Curse you, Waterstones with your little nibbly impulse buy books on the counter!
Daniel Simmons
A brief and well-crafted tale about a woman who quarantines herself against human connection despite her profession as a stay-at-home nanny for just-born children. Funny and unsettling.
Sheila
Jan 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
Asmaa
Mar 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
my first yiyun li and i love it actually.
Manar
Mar 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
"the world is not a bright place to start with, but a senseless wish granted senselessly makes it much dimmer." ...more
Matthew
Aug 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
“Men chase after women until the last moment,” Chanel said. “Auntie, don’t fall for him. No man is to be trusted.”
Rehan Abd Jamil
Nice introduction to Yiyun Li..can't wait to read others.. ...more
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Yiyun Li grew up in Beijing, China and moved to the United States in 1996. She received an MFA from Iowa Writers' Workshop and an MFA in creative nonfiction writing from the University of Iowa. Her stories and essays have been published in The New Yorker, The Paris Review,and elsewhere. She has received a Whiting Writers' Award and was awarded a Lannan Foundation residency in Marfa, TX. Her debut ...more

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