The Book of Goose

The Book of Goose is an alluring story that spans from postwar rural provinces to Paris, an English boarding school, and a tranquil Pennsylvania home where a woman can escape her past. It explores themes of unsettling intimacy and obsession, exploitation, and the power of will.

Fabienne, Agnès’ childhood best friend, has passed away. Agnès, who had been helped by Fabienne to escape their French countryside upbringing ten years ago, receives the news while living in America. As a child in a war-torn rural town, the two friends created a private world, which was disrupted when Fabienne came up with a life-changing plan, leading Agnès on a journey filled with success, tragedy, and heartbreak. The Book of Goose is a captivating narrative that spans from postwar France to Paris, an English boarding school, and a peaceful home in Pennsylvania, where Agnès can start anew.

This poignant book explores themes of friendship, art, exploitation, and memory.

In the News

“An atmospheric and evocative coming-of-age story.”
—Elizabeth Crachiolo, Historical Novel Society

“An interesting cassoulet of friendship, fantasy, and the predatory nature of fame . . . Yiyun Li presents her readers with a fascinating question: What is real — the stories the world concocts about us or the ones we fabricate about ourselves?”
—Patricia Schultheis, Washington Independent Review of Books

“A novel of meticulous philosophical inquiry, roaming from the nature of reality and the truth quotient of fact, memory and fiction to the instantaneousness of childhood friendship – so much more ‘fatal’, as Agnès puts it, than the endlessly crooned about love at first sight.”
—Hephzibah Anderson, The Guardian

“A compulsively readable meditation on how our closest friendships harbor both love and hate—and how we can fail each other over and over again . . . Li’s crystalline, insightful prose adds incredible depth to the drama, yet the dynamic between the girls remains the complex heart of The Book of Goose.”
—Sarah Rose Etter, BOMB

“Not since Elena Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend has a novel so deftly probed the magical and sometimes destructive friendships that can occur between two girls . . . The Book of Goose is an elegant and disturbing novel about exploitation and acquiescence, notoriety and obscurity, and whether you choose your life or are chosen by it.”
—Lauren Bufford, BookPage (starred review)

“Bringing to mind Elena Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend, by way of Anita Brookner’s quietly dramatic prose, [The Book of Goose] makes for a powerful Cinderella fable with memorable characters. It’s an accomplished new turn for Li.”
—Publishers Weekly

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