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A Hundred Flowers: A Novel by Gail Tsukiyama

A Hundred Flowers: A Novel (2012)

by Gail Tsukiyama

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Story of the Chinese cultural revolution as told from the perspective of several members of a family- a young boy, his grandfather (a retired teacher); his mother (a herbalist called on by many people for her skills); his father (sent for retraining by the authorities) and a pregnant girl taken in by the family. Interesting version of China's history. ( )
  Pmaurer | Apr 29, 2016 |
This was a great book to start the year off for our library book club. I have never read a book by Gail Tsukiyama. I am not that familiar with China's history either. I really enjoyed this book right from the start. I started reading the book but then borrowed the audio from Overdrive to finish the book in time for my book club meeting.

A Hundred Flowers is a novel with a wide variety of characters. You have Wei, Kai Ying, Tao, Song, Sheng, and Suyin. Kai Ying, Tao and Wei are dealing with Sheng being imprisoned for not believing in the new regime in China. Song is a neighbor who is like family. Suyin is a teenage girl who sees Kai Ying while at the hospital. She follows Kai Ying home one day from the market.

Suyin is pregnant and goes into labor while following Kai Ying. The bond that is formed between these characters is very heart warming. I will be looking for more books by Gail Tsukiyama. ( )
  crazy4reading | Jan 17, 2016 |
I received this as a giveaway, and was excited to read it. I was highly disappointed. The description of the book sounded somewhat interesting. Maybe had the book been written in a different style, it may have been a good book. It took me forever to read, and I still cannot grasp the full point of the book. It was choppy. It jumps from character to character, and makes no sense when it does. It's more of a bunch of rambling about other characters and noncharacters. Maybe this just isn't my style of book. It could have been written much better in my opinion. ( )
  UANBookAddict | Dec 3, 2015 |
I listened to this book in audiobook format, read exceptionally well by Simon Vance.

It was an interesting story about a period in time and history I did not know much about. I wish there had been more actual history and more personal perspectives by the characters as the story unfolded. I enjoyed the story but found it slow. Glad I stuck with it and equally glad it is done now. ( )
  jessibud2 | Aug 14, 2014 |
Joy's review: Well, one of our book group participants said it best for me: "it's as if Tsukiyama was trying to be poetic and didn't quite make it". This leave the book overly simplistic and flat. Story is tucked into Chinese history just after the Communist revolution and just before the Great Leap forward, yet there is no mention of the effects either WWII or the revolution or any foreshadowing of the Great Leap. Good book for middle school students. ( )
  konastories | May 19, 2014 |
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Let a hundred flowers bloom; let a

hundred schools of thought contend.

--Mao Tse Tung, 1956
For Tom
First words
The courtyard was still quiet so early in the morning, the neighborhood just waking as Neighbor Lau's rooster began to crow.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312274815, Hardcover)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:01 -0400)

A tale set during the Chinese Cultural Revolution follows the struggles of Kai Ying to safeguard her family when her teacher husband is arrested and sent to a "reeducation" labor camp for criticizing the Communist Party.

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