A Crowded Silence
by Li Lanni
Pub Date 10 Jan 2019
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This powerful memoir follows the extraordinary life of Li Lanni, a writer and former cancer patient struggling with depression in 21st century China. At once deeply personal and profoundly universal, this story of cancer and mental illness captures the life and times of a generation struggling for health and happiness in a rapidly changing China.
What is it like to suffer from depression? As Li Lanni writes, it's worse than cancer
A child of China's Cultural Revolution, Li Lanni has always persevered through hardship. Despite her many health struggles, including cancer, Lanni went through life with a smile on her face-until she was diagnosed with depression in 2003. This powerful memoir, told in part through diary entries written soon after her diagnosis, follows the extraordinary story of her life, from her upbringing on communist military bases to her coming of age in the high-pressure, freewheeling commercial centre of Shenzhen.
At once deeply personal and profoundly universal, this story of cancer and mental illness captures the life and times of a generation struggling for health and happiness in a rapidly changing China.
Li Lanni was born in the province of Guangdong. She grew up on island military outposts and in remote mountainous regions where her parents were stationed in the army. She attended the Lu Xun Literary Institute in Beijing and Nanjing University and worked for several years as a journalist in Shenzhen. As part of Shenzhen's early migrant population, she witnessed the city's economic development and reforms first-hand. Drawing on her experience with cancer and depression, her work explores mental health issues among the Chinese people of today and the difficulties they face in an increasingly modernised world. Her writings include novels, essays, film scripts and nonfiction. In 2009, her memoir A Crowded Silence was named an outstanding literary work and was selected to be part of the International Publications of Chinese Classics Project set up by the China News Publication Bureau.