Do Not Say We Have Nothing (Paperback)Madeleine Thien (author)
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Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2016
‘In a single year, my father left us twice. The first time, to end his marriage, and the second when he took his own life’
In Canada in 1991, ten-year-old Marie and her mother invite a guest into their home: a young woman who has fled China in the aftermath of the Tiananmen Square protests. Her name is Ai-Ming.
As her relationship with Marie deepens, Ai-Ming tells the story of her family in revolutionary China, from the crowded teahouses in the first days of Chairman Mao's ascent, to the Shanghai Conservatory in the 1960s and the events leading to the Beijing demonstrations of 1989.
It is a history of revolutionary idealism, music, and silence, in which three musicians, the shy and brilliant composer Sparrow, the violin prodigy Zhuli, and the enigmatic pianist Kai struggle during China's relentless Cultural Revolution to remain loyal to one another and to the music they have devoted their lives to. Forced to re-imagine their artistic and private selves, their fates reverberate through the years, with deep and lasting consequences for Ai-Ming - and for Marie.
It is no small feat to successfully weave history into fiction in a way which feels both seamless and authentic. To do so with events which are still so culturally and politically sensitive takes no small degree of bravery. In Do Not Say We Have Nothing, Madeleine Thien does both with a skill which is as astonishing as it is apparently effortless.
‘This is a moving and extraordinary evocation of the 20th-century tragedy of China, and deserves to cement Thien’s reputation as an important and compelling writer.’ The Guardian
Madeleine Thien was born in Vancouver and has been the recipient of numerous awards in her native Canada and further afield. Do Not Say We Have Nothing is her fourth novel
Publisher: Granta Books
Number of pages: 480
Weight: 452 g
Dimensions: 216 x 135 x 28 mm
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“Better than the winner?”
This is a novel of epic scope and ambition, a complex family story that starts in the China of the 1950s and ends in the present day.
The pivotal events are the Cultural Revolution, and specifically the destruction... More
“China's revolution through the lens of one artistic family; absolutely beautiful”
To call Do Not Say We Have Nothing an epic is to underestimate the work before you. I've spent two months poring over this book, and it has been such an enjoyable experience.
Thien weaves a story of... More
“Do not say we have nothing ”
I found this book engrossing, a mixture of fact and fiction, but mainly describing the lives of ordinary people living in China plus relatives living abroad during the last 60 to 70 years. This would have been during... More
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