Yiyun Li (1972- ) was born in Beijing, China, the daughter of a teacher and a nuclear physicist. She dreamed of studying in America, hoping to escape an oppressive political regime and an unhappy family life. But when she arrived at the University of Iowa at the age of 23, a math prodigy and burgeoning immunologist, she found herself drawn to literature, a shift that led her to drop her career as a scientist in favor of writing fiction, where she soon established herself as one of the premier writers in the world. On this episode of The History of Literature, we look at Yiyun Li’s life and fiction, with a particular focus on her short story “Extra.”
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