This is an exceptional novel and Yiyun Li has grown into one of our major novelists.
-- Salman Rushdie
Moving back and forth in time, and between America today and China in the 1990s, Kinder Than Solitude is the story of three people whose lives are changed by a murder one of them may have committed. As Boyang observes, "even the most innocent person, when cornered, is capable of a heartless crime."
When Moran, Ruyu, and Boyang are young, they are involved in a mysterious "accident" in which a friend of theirs is poisoned. Now grown up and estranged, the three friends are separated by these events, and by time and distance. Moran and Ruyu live in the United States, Boyang in China, yet all three are haunted by what really happened that day, and by doubt about themselves.
In California, Ruyu helps Celia care for her family and home, and avoids entanglements, as she has done all of her life. In Wisconsin, Moran visits her ex-husband, whose kindness once overcame her flight into solitude. In Beijing, Boyang struggles to deal with an inability to love, and with the outcome of what happened among the three friends, twenty years before.
Brilliantly written, a breathtaking page-turner, Kinder Than Solitude resonates with provocative observations about human nature and life. In mesmerizing prose, and with profound philosophical insight, Yiyun Li unfolds this remarkable story, even as she explores the impact of personality and the past to shape a person's present and future.