Where Reasons End by Yiyun Li is my favorite book of 2021.
It is the shortest I’ve read this year.
And utmost luminous.
Trigger warning. As if.
A series of imaginary conversations between a mother and a teenage son who took his own life. If that sounds dark, it is. It is also redemptive in the scathing way art can be. And it’s also funny. Netflix stand-up producers wish. We all wish, don’t we?!
[Yiyun Li’s own son died on his own terms. All fiction is auto-biographical.]
I did not want this book to end. It was perfect. Line for line. I imagine Li did not want to finish writing it … I suppose that is a proper way to feel about life, living, being. As a survivor of suicide attempts, I know the “truth” is much more elusive. Sometimes reasons just end. Sometimes you get a chance to find them again. Sometimes the search for reasons to live becomes a reason in itself.
And then you get moments.
You get blueberries (!)
You put a song on repeat.
You do yoga as if you knew what it meant.
You re-read a line in a book, over and over.
You re-read a line a book.
Maybe it was just (for) this.
“Things we remembered together, things we remembered differently, and things we remembered separately … To end up somewhere between doubt and regret, it was a maze I had decided not to set foot in.”
Where the Reasons End by Yiyun Li
[Insert yourself here.]