Bittersweet A Novel

“First novelist Li transforms the eventful life of her Chinese grandmother Li Xiuwen–who was born in 1889 and became the wife of Li Zongren, a major political figure in modern China–into an appealing story. Interpolating fresh historical research, Li describes the century of vital change that her protagonist, called Bittersweet, witnessed: an era that stretched from the end of the empire to the tragedy of the Tiananmen Square massacre.”

Publishers Weekly


“A panoramic whirl through Chinese history in a first novel inspired by a Chinese grandmother who was granted that most ambiguous of wishes — to live in interesting times.”

Kirkus Reviews


“Taken as history alone, this is a fascinating book…  But it is also an absorbing novel, full of private frustrations and excursions to the market; philosophical mornings in the garden and difficult relatives; intimate cups of tea and the satisfying, gradual evolution of a character.”

The New Yorker