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Immortality Summary
Yiyun Li

Everything you need to understand or teach Immortality by Yiyun Li.

  • Immortality Summary & Study Guide

Immortality Summary

Introduction

“Immortality,” a short story by Chinese writer Yiyun Li, was first published in the Paris Review in 2003. It was reprinted in Li's collection of short stories, A Thousand Years of Good Prayers in 2005. “Immortality” is set in China and is told from the point of view of an entire town as it goes through the turbulent events that affected China in the twentieth century. These events include the overthrow of the Qing dynasty (1644-1911/12); the establishment of a communist dictatorship and the personality cult of Mao Zedong; the horrors of the Cultural Revolution, in which millions died; and the massacre of pro-democracy demonstrators at Tiananmen Square, Beijing, in 1989. All these details form the backdrop to Li's highly unusual story of a boy who was born in 1949, the year that the communists came to power, and who as he grew up bore such a strong resemblance to the dictator that...

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