Books like this should be read in schools. We can't forget the past, we shouldn't.
WINNER OF THE SCOTIABANK GILLER PRIZE 2016
SHORTLISTED FOR THE BAILEYS WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION 2017
SHORTLISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE 2016 AND THE PARAGRAPHE HUGH MACLENNAN PRIZE FOR FICTION 2016.
In Canada in 1990, 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.
Written with exquisite intimacy, wit and moral complexity, Do Not Say We Have Nothing magnificently brings to life one of the most significant political regimes of the 20th century and its traumatic legacy, which still resonates for a new generation. It is a gripping evocation of the persuasive power of revolution and its effects on personal and national identity, and an unforgettable meditation on China today.
Do Not Say We Have Nothing Paperback edition by Madeleine Thien
Customer Reviews 5 stars
5 stars 2 customer reviews
Chinese cultural revolution through the lens of one artistic family; 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 China's revolution through generations of one family, punctuated by the tales of the Book of Records, a novel told through many notebooks and revisions, their prized possession. The novel is thick with music, large and small rebellions, poetry and love. While it didn't win the Man Booker, it stands up as an important retelling of China under Mau and an ode to the arts. Yes, it is a long one, but it is so very worth it.
Thank you ever so much to Granta Books for sending me this copy to read. It has been such an experience.