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Day 4

Villette by Charlotte Brontë

Chapters VI–VII

November 18, 2022 by Yiyun Li

These chapters bring back the memory of my first day in the US. I couldn’t find a payphone—not in the three American airports en route to Iowa City nor in the guesthouse—that would allow an international call. I knew no one in the entire state of Iowa.

A similar thought occurred to me when I gave up science for a nonexistent writing career. My thought then: only I would know my bitter regret if I didn’t try.

If I failed in what I now designed to undertake, who, save myself, would suffer?

In every road trip or sea voyage there is a Ginevra Fanshawe. In every Lucy Snowe’s life there is a Ginevra Fanshawe. Subsequently she appears in many novels, including those by Elizabeth Bowen, Muriel Spark, and Mavis Gallant.

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