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!
I am the deputy director of Worthington Libraries and have had a book in hand (or in my bag) since before I could read. I'm a fan of audiobooks, follow too many fiction series to keep up and love to explore new authors and pop culture memoirs. I spend my free time cooking, gardening, exercising and watching movies with my husband and our English mastiffs.