A Hundred Flowers: A Novel

Posted: Friday, June 13, 2014, 8:44 am

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A Hundred Flowers: A Novel

Gail Tsukiyama


reserve now!

Monica B


General fiction, Historical

politics, families

In brief


You won't regret taking a journey with this ordinary family facing extraordinary times.

It's China, 1957 and Chairman Mao has declared a new openness in society with "Let a hundred flowers bloom; let a hundred schools of thought contend," encouraging artists and intellectuals to offer ideas for the country's improvement. Unfortunately, this promising invitation was really just a ploy to weed out intellectual opposition to the state.

A Hundred Flowers follows the Lees, an educated family in Gaungzhou, whose lives are torn apart by Mao's deception. The story begins a year after the imprisonment of Sheng, a high school history teacher, for writing a letter critical of the Communist Party. He leaves behind his professor father, Wei; his herbalist wife, Kai Ying; young son, Tao; and extended family living in the home. On top of losing Sheng to a re-education camp, the family's struggles to adjust are compounded when Tao is injured after a fall from an old Kapok tree in the garden.

Gail Tsukiyama has a quiet, almost poetic way of telling the story, unfolding layer by layer through the viewpoints and interactions of each of the characters. It's beautifully descriptive and feels like a window into everyday life at this unsettled time.

Gail Tsukiyama will be in Worthington on Thursday, June 26, 2014 as part of the library's Hear & Now author series!