Book Review: A Thousand Years of Good Prayers


This collection of short stories bursts with revelation as China is presented through the eyes of diverse characters. The unique personalities depict the difficult years in China from the Maoist regime to the swift invasion of capitalism while holding on to their values.

Exploring themes from homosexuality, fidelity to filial piety, Li gives an honest account of the diverse lifestyles in China; from the modern educated Beijinger in “Son” who went to study in America and discovered his preference for men to the boy who grew up in a rural village with a striking resemblance to their dictator. These stories offer depth and insightful perspectives to living in China through the recent years of upheaval and renewal.

This delightful collection is a modern voice of China; definitely worth a read, however its simple rudimentary writing style is nothing to shout about. Despite only having started to write in English 6 years ago, Li successfully completed this collection in English and is unsure of whether to translate it into Mandarin for fear of the backlash and denunciation of the contents of her book.

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