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Janet MaslinSomewhere along the way from a childhood in China…to her present-day life in Oakland, Calif., Ms. Li honed two valuable aspects of her writing talent. She is a keen observer of even the cruelest workaday details…[and] Ms. Li's second gift is for soap-operatic plotting of the sort that has given down-home emotional impetus to ostensibly exotic best sellers like Memoirs of a Geisha. She puts this talent to highly effective use in The Vagrants. Though this novel is at heart a collection of overlapping separate stories, Ms. Li links them with touches of melodrama and well-timed accidents of fate.
—The New York Times