Richly expansive and deeply moving, an intimate novel of secret lives and painful histories from the critically acclaimed author of Where Reasons End Lilia Liska is eighty-one. She has shrewdly outlived three husbands, raised five children and seen the birth of seventeen grandchildren. Now she has turned her keen attention to a strange little book published by a vanity press- the diary of a long-forgotten man named Roland Bouley, with whom she once had a fleeting affair. Drawn into an obsession over this fragment of intimate history, Lilia begins to annotate the diary with her own, rather different version of events. Gradually she undercuts Roland's charming but arrogant voice with her sharply incisive and deeply moving commentary. She reveals to us the surprising, long-held secrets of her own life. And she returns inexorably to her daughter, Lucy, who took her own life at the age of twenty-seven. How does the past shape the future? How do we live in the face of the unanswerable? Must I Go considers these questions underlying an extraordinary life, exploring both the painfully finite nature of human life and the infinite depths of human beings.


ISBN13: 9780241978689
Format: Paperback / softback
Number of Pages: 368
Publication Date: 26 Aug 2021
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Publication City, Country: London,United Kingdom
Dimensions (cm): 19.8(H) x 12.9(W)255
Weight (gm): 255

Author Biography

Yiyun Li is the author of three novels, Where Reasons End, The Vagrants and Kinder Than Solitude, and two short-story collections, A Thousand Years of Good Prayers and Gold Boy, Emerald Girl, as well as the memoir, Dear Friend, From My Life I Write to You in Your Life. She has won literary awards including the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award and the Guardian First Book Award, and was listed among Granta's 21 Best of Young American Novelists 2007. Her stories have been published in the New Yorker, Paris Review and elsewhere. She is a MacArthur Fellow, a recipient of a Windham-Campbell Prize and a Professor of Creative Writing at Princeton University.


This brilliant novel examines lives lived, losses accumulated, and the slipperiness of perception. Yiyun Li writes deeply, drolly, and with elegance about history, even as it's happening. She is one of my favorite writers, and Must I Go is an extraordinary book. -- Meg Wolitzer
There is no writer like Yiyun Li, no one in contemporary literature who is as masterful at digging into the uncertainty of our existence on this earth. And Must I Go is sheer brilliance. Lilia Liska is one of the most arresting, strangely funny, and complex characters I've ever met . . . Li does something truly transformative. She remakes our world for us, so we can figure out how to keep living in it. -- Kevin Wilson
A masterpiece. This book haunts me more than any other novel I've read in recent years
Any new book by Yiyun Li is cause for celebration, but now more than ever do we need the clarity and humaneness of her vision. Must I Go takes us into her familiar and powerful emotional territory, brilliantly exploring how what we love, what we lose, and what we mourn make, unmake, and remake us into the human beings that we are. -- Sigrid Nunez
A portrait of resilience like no other, Must I Go takes Yiyun Li-and the reader-into entirely new emotional territory. Bracing and almost unnervingly perceptive, this is wisdom literature for our time. -- Gish Jen
Fierce and intransigent -- Joyce Carol Oates
Must I Go

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