For a first novel in a second language, this book is an amazing accomplishment. Beautiful, painterly images emerge through the rawness and edginess of Lili's self-loathing. There is clearly a fiendishly strong intelligence at work behind this sophisticated debut
-- The Times
Like Thornton Wilder in The Bridge of San Luis Rey, Wang develops an engaging novel of fate exploring what draws an individual toward large happenings on a social stage. Her version, set in a China at once convincing and utterly foreign, both attracts and terrifies... Her background and her sharp, unsparing perspective should attract attention and translate into solid sales
Wang’s triumph is in her vigorous portrayal of alienated young people and dignified older people, and how the 1989 Tiananmen demonstrations made them all so hopeful of change in China....this is the stuff o Great literature, the pleasure of reading LILI likes in her wakening to the thrill of being part of something larger than herself.
The beauty of Wang’s book is watching the metamorphosis. Lili is an extraordinary character...Wang has created a heroine who is anything but a caricature. Her writing is subtle, yet intense. The book feels very realistic, making it easy for the reader to connect with Lili. Yet even thought the writing is quite straightforward, it also includes sprinklings of pretty and poetic prose. Lili has much to offer...It’s also an unassuming novel of self-discovery that will strike a chord with everybody who has ever tried to figure out who the hell they are... With a debut novel like this, Wang’s writing future in the West seems bright.
A striking new literary voice.
--The LA Times
Some people would call Annie Wang an overachiever...Favorable write ups in the New Yorker, Details, Publishers Weekly and other publications assured LILI a warm welcome in America.
--"Early Bloomer Wang Thrives with LILI"
East meets West in Chinese writer Annie Wang's LILI, which spans the decades from the cultural revolution to the present day...Wang's story lays bare, in raw prose, a very private China failing to resist the forces of change.
--Guardian of London
Wang's first novel written in English: a compelling account of the emotional and political awakening of a tormented young Chinese woman... . A moving and well-crafted tale, written over the course of ten years, that successfully melds the fictional Lili with China's recent history. Not an easy task.
Told in the first person, this multi-layered work reveals the inequities that result from class differences, gender differences, political affiliation, and poverty in China.. Wang's writing is clear, full of imagery, and easy to follow.
- Library Journal
Annie Wang's prose is so compelling that once immersed in this book set in revolutionary Beijing, it is disconcerting to realise that life is still going on around you. Wang, a radio-show hostess with a cult following in her native China, has written a first novel that is a powerful evocation of modern China, told through the eyes of a young girl...
A perfectly blended story of adolescent evolution in a discordant political climate.
Ms. Wang has gotten a good grasp of colloquial English.. Lili's story is told in fresh, bold tones. You sense a strength and a drive – a strength and drive reflected in the young author's face looking at you from her dust jacket photograph. Annie Wang has written a story you would do well to read.
-Wolrd Net Daily
For a bittersweet history lesson about modern China, LILI is a must-read. Wang's first English novel is a fine piece crafted by a talented writer.
Lili is a coming-of-age novel, not just of a woman but also of a country.
-The Washington Post Book World
[Wang] opens up windows into the lives of people we've rarely met in English fiction.
-Far East Economic Review
Wang succeeds in isolating and clarifying the Chinese conflicts between tradition and modern life...she has taken on some ambitious themes and handled them in a satisfying way.
-Cleveland Plain Dealer
A novel of sex, violence and Tiananmen Square.
-International Herald tribune
1980s China, with its ossified socialism and burgeoning capitalism, is effectively evoked and Lili's skepticism is a thought-provoking foil to Roy's naive idealism.
– the Economist
Such is Wang's rapid narrative style. She distills something like jail, or abject poverty or the tension of a dinner table's silence to the barest, most evocative part, like the best of journalism. Wang also is given to engaging her characters in billowing parlor discussions of ideological historical and political topics reminiscent of Tolsoy or D.H. Lawrence. Her issues are important, and in concert with Wang's eye for detail.
--The Hartford Courant
This is undeniably a strongly written book. What makes it impressive is the string of encounters with vividly etched minor characters it contains...This is a vibrant novel, a book that has..enough liveliness and honesty in its detail.
Wang has a promising future as a fiction writer. Lili's interior monologues capture the self-loathing and rage of China's disaffected youth. With a simple list of things that were trendy in Beijing in the 1980s, Wang conveys the chaos of a city impatie3nt to change itself again and again.
..the spirit of Tiananmen animates the book... Lili is so deeply felt...
--San Jose Mercury News
Ms. Wang is a bright bright young woman, as is her story’s main character Lili...She brings her obvious intelligence and youthful enthusiasm into a fascinating chapter of Chinese history.
-The Asian Reporter
By the end of the novel, we readers have com to know hooligans, Chinese peasants, artists, a mysterious Buddhist grandmother, frustrated parents, Communist Chinese officials and many more. All appear with such vividness and clarity that we are surprised to realize we are reading fiction. This novel not only provides a valuable lesson in history and culture, it filters everything through the words of a tough young woman character of surprising depth, power and poetry. What a way to learn!
Annie Wang has been a front-line observer of the cultural gulf between East and West.
--Asia's Literary Giants Series by Asia Books
So much is quotable here, it is difficult to resist using them...LILI offers insight into the Chinese psyche.
I cannot praise this complex, slap-in-the-face novel highly enough. Exciting, witty, honest and raw, and also deceptively readable- it asks important questions about tradition, family, honor, love, poverty and individuality. That it leaves many of these questions unanswered is one of its greatest strengths.
--Scarlett Thomas at Book Girl
Annie Wang is the sort of person who makes it that little bit harder to extract oneself from the duvet of a morning. Young and beautiful, she has been a successful writer, radio host and documentary maker since the age of 14... LILI is highly recommended to anyone who enjoyed Amy Tan and Jung Chang, but wanted a touch of Sid Vicious as well.
--Highbury and Islington Express
LILI A Novel of Tiananmen a coming of age story seethes alienation and restless hope.