Where Reasons End by Yiyun Li was also a part of the gift package my friend Melodie gave me. I was a bit afraid to start in it because of what it is about, but beyond that, I am so truly happy I read this one. I did read it before the summer but I didn’t want to review it before I had started the bookclub and given proper attention to anti-racism on my blog.
This book is about a mom who loses her son, tragically, to suicide. Supposedly this book is autobiographical and Li went through this herself, so knowing that makes it extra touching. Her son was still very young (only sixteen!) and she doesn’t know how to cope with this loss. As a coping mechanism, she writes letters to him, in which she has complete made-up conversations with him. In those conversations they argue, avoid talking about what happened but also discuss some things that will surely have given the mom some closure.
By writing these conversations, the mom is trying to immortalize her son’s existence. However, the tragic motivation for writing this book is only secondary to the form in which it has been poured. Li writes prose as if it’s poetry. The pages are filled with semantic plays, linguistic discussions and each chapter feels like a circle is being closed. I think it’s not going too far to say that each sentence could be framed and hung up in your living room. Linguistically and poetically, this book is intruiging and moving at the same time.
It took me quite a while to read it, even though it doesn’t have that many pages. That’s because, to me, it was like a bag of candy you love so much, that you just don’t want to eat it all in one go. Honestly, if you are not triggered by grief and suicide, this little book with so much content will make your heart skip a beat. A lot of people know that I’m very harsh in judging books, and I rarely put something high on my ‘love’ list. I’m not saying this to sound snobbish, I’m just picky and critical. However, my love for this book, for the content and form, has no end!