Best East Bay Book

Kinder Than Solitude, by Yiyun Li

Some books are page-turners, the kinds of books you can’t wait to rip through, bedtimes or deadlines or personal responsibilities of any kind be damned. Others are slow-burners — the novels you want to be inside of forever, re-reading sentences and paragraphs over and over until they start to feel more like something you experienced than something you merely absorbed. And some, vexingly, are both. Kinder Than Solitude, the second novel by Oakland’s own Yiyun Li, which starts with a mysterious poisoning and spins out from there, is both: A finely wrought, deeply absorbing literary thriller that takes its tautness not from plot but from character, not from big set pieces but quiet moments. It’s exquisite.

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