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A Hundred Flowersby Gail Tsukiyama
Synopses & Reviews
A powerful new novel about an ordinary family facing extraordinary times at the start of the Chinese Cultural Revolution
China, 1957. Chairman Mao has declared a new openness in society: “Let a hundred flowers bloom; let a hundred schools of thought contend.” Many intellectuals fear it is only a trick, and Kai Yings husband, Sheng, a teacher, has promised not to jeopardize their safety or that of their young son, Tao. But one July morning, just before his sixth birthday, Tao watches helplessly as Sheng is dragged away for writing a letter criticizing the Communist Party and sent to a labor camp for “reeducation.”
A year later, still missing his father desperately, Tao climbs to the top of the hundred-year-old kapok tree in front of their home, wanting to see the mountain peaks in the distance. But Tao slips and tumbles thirty feet to the courtyard below, badly breaking his leg.
As Kai Ying struggles to hold her small family together in the face of this shattering reminder of her husbands absence, other members of the household must face their own guilty secrets and strive to find peace in a world where the old sense of order is falling. Once again, Tsukiyama brings us a powerfully moving story of ordinary people facing extraordinary circumstances with grace and courage.
"The year is 1957, and China is very much a land unfriendly to intellectuals and artists of any kind. A teacher named Sheng is sent to a prison camp for writing a letter critical of the Communist Party, leaving his wife to raise a young child who can't understand why his father has disappeared, until a tragic accident changes everything. Tsukiyama's tale of love, loss, and courage is brought to life by Simon Vance. Narrating in a soft, straightforward tone, Vance is understated but renders the characters well. With only minor shifts in tone and dialect, Vance creates well-rounded, and believable characters without even remotely attempting to tackle a Chinese accent. The result is brilliantly realized listening that will have listeners enthralled from start to finish. A St. Martin's hardcover. (Aug.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Gail Tsukiyama is the bestselling author of six previous novels, including The Street of a Thousand Blossoms, Women of the Silk and The Samurais Garden, as well as the recipient of the Academy of American Poets Award and the PEN Oakland/Josephine Miles Literary Award. She lives in El Cerrito, California.
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