Must I Go
By Yiyun Li
Lilia Liska has shrewdly outlived three husbands, raised five children, and seen the arrival of seventeen grandchildren. Now she has turned her keen attention to the diary of a long-forgotten man named Roland Bouley, with whom she once had a fleeting affair.
Increasingly obsessed with Roland's intimate history, Lilia begins to annotate the diary with her own rather different version of events, revealing the surprising, long-held secrets of her past. She returns inexorably to the memory of her daughter Lucy. This is a novel about life in all its messy glory, and of a life lived, by the extraordinary Lilia, absolutely on its own terms. With great candor and insight, Yiyun Li navigates the twin poles of grief and resilience, loss and rebirth, that compass a human heart.
“I’ve always found the openness, the near shapelessness of Li’s work to be part of its beauty. Her characters are never coerced; they are patiently observed, they are allowed to live, allowed to disappoint.”—The New York Times
“Li is a master of going to the places where words fail us. . . . Perhaps her greatest talent lies in her peerless experimentation with our language of human emotion—its insufficiencies, its dissatisfactions, its refusal to capture the depth and breadth of our feelings. . . . Li is a truly peerless voice in contemporary fiction, and Must I Go is another unforgettable entry in a long career of excellence.”—Esquire
“Whereas Joan Didion wrote that we tell stories to live, Li delves into the ways our narratives bury the dead.”—Los Angeles Times