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 Ying’s 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 husband’s 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.
A Hundred Flowers
Average rating4 / 5
January 22nd, 2014
Very easy read. The book contains strong family emotions and sacrifice. It starts with a boy who falls from a tree and injures himself, putting his family in initial distress from which some family secrets come out. There are very charitable attitudes towards others in need, when the mother of the injured boy adopts a teenager who is heavily pregnant and gives birth. The chapters are written from the point of view of the main characters and switch from character to character. I felt compelled to read for a long while each time I sat to read this book because it was very gripping and emotional.
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