Yin Li, Yijun, The New Yorker discussed on The New Yorker: Fiction

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Hi samantha. Hi deborah. Thanks for having me. How did yin li's work. I come into your life <hes>. That's a great question. I have to say. I think it was originally from the new yorker. It wasn't this story. This wasn't the first. Union story i encountered. Maybe it was extra. This one though sheltered woman has always stayed with me so deeply. There's no easy way to forget it. There's no easy way to feel like i'm done thinking about it. And i've been interested to see how often it returns to me again. And again. And i think that i initially was so attracted to it. Because it's such a complicated story about mothering and mothering. Stories while not rare <hes>. Ones that are complicated enough to satisfy me are rare that to find a story that questions mothering. Or even that digs in to the extent that this one does where you know we're bringing in themes of capitalism and the effects of capitalism on mothering. I mean. I don't know that i've seen that really anywhere else <hes>. Maybe in some amazing science fiction but never in a story that dwells in realism. The way this story does and the fact that yijun decided to kind of capture this luminol moment of one month. You know the first month and to take that tiny quiet microcosm and make it into this devastating huge chasm of a universe. I i find that unbelievable right. The story deals with a character who only takes care of babies in the first month of their lives. And who also takes care of mothers in the first month of <hes>. Of motherhood motherhood is something you have written about a fair amount in your own fiction. Yeah yeah. I am a mother of three and i think that when i became a mother i like most mothers was amazed at how little i knew beforehand. Despite having mother despite being daughter. I knew so very little about how to do this. And the way that it would change my identity the way that it would open me up in a tremendous way and so i. I went looking for literature that reflected that to some extent in. I don't know that i found too much of it. Even the word mother the first place we go is someplace. Really very basic and stereotypical i. You know it's like making dinner making cookies driving mini vans and there's none of that in a sheltered woman and i really appreciated that because i did feel like when i first became a mother having made life became obsessed with death which ultimately you know that makes a lot of sense and yet no one had prepared me for that and no one had told me that was going to happen so i kind of looked for the pieces that dealt with that question and tried to write these stories myself so now. Here's samantha hunt reading sheltered woman by and li a sheltered woman. The new mother groggy from a nap sat at the table is though she did not grasp why she had been summoned. Perhaps she never would anti may thought on the place mat sat a bowl of soybean and pig's foot soup that anti may had cooked as she had for many new mothers before this one many however was not exact in her interviews with potential employers. Auntie may always gave the precise number of families she had worked for a hundred and twenty six when she interviewed with your current employer. A hundred and thirty one babies altogether the families contact information the dates she had worked for them their babies names and birthdays these. She had recorded in a palm size notebook which had twice fallen apart and been taped back together years ago. Auntie may had bought it at a garage sale in moline illinois. She had liked the picture of flowers on the cover purple and yellow unmelted snow surrounding the chased pedals. She had liked the price of the notebook to five cents when she handed a dime to the child but the cashbox on his lap. She asked if there was another notebook she could buy so that he would not have to give her any change. The boy looked perplexed and said no. It was greed that had made her ask but when the memory came back it often did when she took the notebook out of her suitcase for another interview. Auntie may would laugh at herself. Why on earth had she wanted to know books. When there's not enough to fill one. The mother sat still not touching the spoon until tear-drops fell into the steaming soup. Now anti may said she was pushing herself in the baby. A new rocking chair back and forth back and forth this squeaking less noticeable than

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