You’ll hear in the latest podcast (#46) about Yiyun Li’s original idea for a title for her first novel, The Vagrants. In Chinese it is
贪生怕死 or, in pinyin, tān shēng pà sĭ. It means, literally: greedy for life, afraid of death. It suggests a craven, cowardly clinging to life. That’s a powerful thought but as a title it sounds more appropriate for a thrash metal band. For a determinedly English language novel, The Vagrants was a fine choice.