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A Hundred Flowers by Gail Tsukiyama

A Hundred Flowers (original 2012; edition 2013)

by Gail Tsukiyama

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2152354,204 (3.49)14
Title:A Hundred Flowers
Authors:Gail Tsukiyama
Info:Thorndike Press (2013), Edition: Lrg, Hardcover
Collections:Your library
Tags:fiction, china

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A Hundred Flowers: A Novel by Gail Tsukiyama (2012)



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As I have found in other novels written about China and from a Chinese viewpoint, I don't feel very close to any of the characters in this book, but I came away feeling great sympathy for their situation. The setting is China shortly after the rise of Mao Tse Tung (aka Mao Zedong) and the People's Republic of China, a time when freedom of thought and expression were often brutally extinguished. ( )
  phyllis.shepherd | Jun 11, 2017 |
SO boring. the characters are not very deep, and the plot really doesn't go anywhere. ( )
  Darth-Heather | May 31, 2016 |
A Hundred Flowers – Gail Tsukiyama
4 stars

“She marveled at nature's resiliency, its sheer stubbornness to survive.”

Those are the thoughts of Auntie Song, one of the characters in Gail Tsukiyama’s newest book. It is the story of an extended family told from five different perspectives through a year of many changes. Some of the challenges they face are common to many lives; a child’s accident, grief at the death of a spouse, the birth of a child. Other concerns are unique to the cataclysmic social changes of Mao Tse-Tung’s regime.

The family consists of Kai Ying, the mother of Tao, her elderly father-in law, Wei, and Auntie Song, a courtesy aunt who occupies a portion of their family home. As the year progresses a pregnant , homeless teenager joins the family. Much of the family’s unique distress is due to its absent member. Sheng, the husband, the father, the beloved son, has been arrested and sent to a distant reeducation camp.

I liked all of these characters. They are very human in their strengths and weaknesses. Kai Ying has admirable sensitivity to her patients as she prepares her herbal remedies and Auntie Song’s optimism and strong survival instincts are inspiring. The book is somewhat slow and occasionally disjointed as the storytelling shifts from one person to another, but the overall picture of this family was very satisfying. They have nature’s resiliency and a sheer stubbornness to survive.

My book was an arc. It went on sale this week.
( )
  msjudy | May 30, 2016 |
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 |
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Let a hundred flowers bloom; let a

hundred schools of thought contend.

--Mao Tse Tung, 1956
For Tom
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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.

(summary from another edition)

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