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The Vagrants

by Yiyun Li

I never thought I could care so much about characters who are so flawed, so 'unimportant'. There are so many tragic stories here - and yet amongst the gloom there is hope, and life and even humour.

Extract

The day started before sunrise, on March 21, 1979, when Teacher Gu woke up and found his wife sobbing quietly into her blanket. A day of equality it was, or so it had occurred to Teacher Gu many times when he had pondered the date, the spring equinox, and again the thought came to him: Their daughter's life would end on this day, when neither the sun nor its shadow reigned.

Parallels

Hard Times by Charles Dickens
 

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