‘Immortality’ by Yiyun Li

I would like to make clear that I have included several former students of mine on this list not because I think I taught them anything, but because my greatest, perhaps only talent as a teacher is that I’m a good reader. I know when to shut up and gawk. I’m particularly clear that I taught Yiyun Li nothing because I remember reading this story in The Paris Review when she was first a student in my class. This far into my anthology I am aware of my favorite things in short stories: the ability to cover serious chronology; peculiar characters; bravado narration. This story is also the best first person plural I know. She has written many, many brilliant short stories (and also novels) since she published this story in The Paris Review

First published in The Paris Review, Fall 2003, and available to read here; collected in A Thousand Years of Good Prayers, Random House, 2005

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