A Thousand Years of Good Prayers is a short story collection by Yiyun Li. This work is Li’s first, and it was well received in the literary community. A Thousand Years of Good Prayers won the 2005 Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award as well as the 2006 Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award, the Guardian First Book Award, and the California Book Award. In addition, this collection was so popular that two of the short stories, A Thousand Years of Good Prayers and The Princess of Nebraska, were made into films.
All of the short stories in A Thousand Years of Good Prayers are set in China and the United States, and the protagonists are all Chinese Americans. In each of the stories, Li artfully describes how the culture and myths, politics and history combine with each person’s personality to create their own unique fate. Because all the action takes place in either China or the US, the worlds that are revealed in the narrative are familiar yet foreign.