I was very happy to find included in a D R C, New American Short Stories, I was recently given a story by one of my favorite writers, Yiyun Li. I have previously read both of her novels and several of her wonderful short stories.
"A Man Like Him", set in Maoist era China, centers on a forty six year old male teacher, never married, who lives with his very elderly mother, caring for her. Twenty five years ago his father was a high level professor of philosophy. For expressing criticism of the government, he was reassigned as a trash collector for some twenty years. He lives in an environment in which you have to be very careful who you trust. Long ago the teacher was accused of looking in a sexual way at his young female students.
The beauty of the story is in the great sadness conveyed in the subdued prose of Li, in the relationships stifled by the miasma of distrust.
I have a few more stories by Yiyun Li in anthologies I have been given and hope to read them soon.
Yiyun Li is the author of A Thousand Years of Good Prayers, The Vagrants, Gold Boy, Emerald Girl, and Kinder Than Solitude. She is the recipient of a MacArthur Foundation fellowship, the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award, the PEN/Hemingway Foundation Award, and the Guardian First Book Award, among others. Granta named her one of the best American novelists under thirty-five, and The New Yorker named her one of twenty American writers under forty to watch. Her work has been translated into more than twenty languages and has appeared in The New Yorker, A Public Space, The Best American Short Stories, The O. Henry Prize Stories, and elsewhere. She teaches writing at the University of California, Davis.