Yiyun Li On The Malleability Of Our Past

Our memories tell more about NOW than THEN.

How Well Can You See The Past For What It Truly Is?
Our memories of our past can sometimes be fudgy for many reasons. This is because is the past is often a captive of the present. As humans, we use whatever we are facing in our present to interpret our past... and predict our future. However, this view is prone to much error and fantasies. It causes us to reinterpret the past as we see fit and thus a reason why it is never a great idea to stare too much into the abyss of time long gone.

Yiyun Li, the author of Dear Friend, from My Life I Write to You in Your Life, knows this too well. In this books she explains how deceptive our minds can be about our past. She writes:
"Our memories tell more about now than then. Doubtless the past is real. There is no shortage of evidence: photos, journals, letters, old suitcases. But we choose and discard from an abundance of evidence what suits us at the moment. There are many ways to carry the past with us: to romanticize it, to invalidate it, to furnish it with revised or entirely fictionalized memories. The present does not surrender so easily to manipulation."
Since our past memories are like dough in the hands of our present self. We must be careful as to how we knead and shape them.

Many thanks to Penguin Books (UK) for review copy. You can purchase a copy of the book at Amazon and other major online bookstores.

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