“Gold Boy, Emerald Girl” by Yiyun Li

The protagonist Siyu has practically lost her marriage prospects, but goes out on a date with Hanfeng: “He was raised by his mother alone, as she was by her father. She wondered if his mother, who had set up their date, had told him about that.”

I would have liked this story had I not so many times before seen the same setup, same points, same sentimentality, same characterization, same mellifluous colorization, and the excess of telling as opposed to showing. I feel awful writing this, but I really couldn’t wait to put it down.

The only thing that made me smile was the ironic reference to Siyu learning Great Expectations by heart. This appeals to a postcolonially sensitive eye.

Read the story.

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