A fearless writer confronts grief and transforms it into art, in a book of surprising beauty and love.

The narrator of Where Reasons End writes, “I had but one delusion, which I held on to with all my willpower: We once gave Nikolai a life of flesh and blood; and I’m doing it over again, this time by words.”

Yiyun Li meets life’s deepest sorrows as she imagines a conversation between a mother and child in a timeless world. Composed in the months after she lost a child to suicide, Where Reasons End trespasses into the space between life and death as mother and child talk, free from old images and narratives. Deeply moving, these conversations portray the love and complexity of a relationship.

Written with originality, precision, and poise, Where Reasons End is suffused with intimacy, inescapable pain, and fierce love.

Advance praise for Where Reasons End

“The most intelligent, insightful, heart-wrenching book of our time. I will be pressing this into everybody’s hands, saying: ‘Read this, read this now.’”—Andrew Sean Greer, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Less

“I received Yiyun Li’s galley tonight, began almost against my will, and have now just closed it. Some of the words forming are ones that Nikolai would find fault with so I will swallow them. But I sit here shaken and, I think, changed by this work.”—Katherine Boo, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Behind the Beautiful Forevers

Where Reasons End is about the saddest thing in the world, and yet the experience of reading it is mysterious and expansive, as though the limits of all things—language, love, and life—are further than we ever imagined. These stories—astonishing in their compassion, their scope, their private jokes, and their longing—are for anyone who has ever wished that a loved one could have found a way to stay a little longer. An extraordinary book by one of our most extraordinary writers.”—Elizabeth McCracken, author of Thunderstruck & Other Stories
“The most intelligent, insightful, heart-wrenching book of our time. I will be pressing this into everybody’s hands, saying: ‘Read this, read this now.’”—Andrew Sean Greer, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Less

“I received Yiyun Li’s galley tonight, began almost against my will, and have now just closed it. Some of the words forming are ones that Nikolai would find fault with so I will swallow them. But I sit here shaken and, I think, changed by this work.”—Katherine Boo, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Behind the Beautiful Forevers

Where Reasons End is about the saddest thing in the world, and yet the experience of reading it is mysterious and expansive, as though the limits of all things—language, love, and life—are further than we ever imagined. These stories—astonishing in their compassion, their scope, their private jokes, and their longing—are for anyone who has ever wished that a loved one could have found a way to stay a little longer. An extraordinary book by one of our most extraordinary writers.”—Elizabeth McCracken, author of Thunderstruck & Other Stories

“The worst thing that can happen to a parent is the death of a child. In this brilliant, moving book the mother continues her dialogue with her intelligent and sometimes acerbic son. Together they contemplate the paradoxes that beset our experience. This is a burning message from one of our best writers.”—Edmund White, author of The Unpunished Vice: A Life of Reading