The Vagrants

“The Vagrants” by Yiyun Li (China)


Readers really enjoyed this book finding it very well written and revealing of an exceptional maturity of style. They were moved by the story, describing it as touching, distressing, sad and intense. They liked the setting, both time and place, and could strongly feel the political aspects pervading the everyday lives of the people. They found the different characters fascinating in their diversity and liked the way the author moves the point of view from one to the other giving the reader more personal insights into their lives. As a result, they found themselves warming to some unlikely likeable characters such as Bashi and his relationship with Nini, and being disappointed by others such as Teacher Gu and his withdrawal into his past. They found the most hopeful characters were the Huas, an old couple who were used to the vagrant life and who had raised a total of 7 baby girls they had found abandoned in the street. Although a tough read, they highly recommend it. Overall, the book averaged an 8.9 out of 10.


In the provincial town of Muddy River in China in 1979, a young woman named Gu Shan is sentenced to death for her loss of faith in Communism. She is twenty-eight years old and has already spent ten years in prison. The citizens stage a protest after her death and, over the following six weeks, the town goes through uncertainty, hope and fear until eventually the rebellion is brutally suppressed… Read more

Season 10 – “First Novels” (Sep 2009 – Jan 2010)

“The White Tiger” by Aravind Adiga (India) *
“The Blood of Flowers” by Anita Amirrezvani (Iran)
“Lost City Radio” by Daniel Alarcon (Peru)
“Nervous Conditions” by Tsitsi Dangarembga (Zimbabwe) *
“Invisible Man” by Ralph Ellison (U.S.)

Extra book:
“The Vagrants” by Yiyun Li (China)

* The book club favourites
In italics, Nicola’s Coup de Cœur

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