A Hundred Flowers

  • by Gail Tsukiyama
  • Narrated by Simon Vance
  • 7 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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 100-year-old kapok tree in front of their home, wanting to see the mountain peaks in the distance. But Tao slips and tumbles 30 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.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Excellent book about China revolution.

This is the story of a Chinese family whose father and grandfather were part of the educated class in 1957 when Mao Tse Tung said that there should be “a hundred flowers” meaning people should feel free to criticize constructively the Communist party. But when people did, he had them arrested and sent for “re-education to labor camps. They arrested Shenn for sending such a letter. It turned out his father wrote the letter, but Shen took the punishment because he knew his father would never be able to survive labor camp. Shenn’s wife, Kai Ying, and his son, Tao, were very angry when they found out what happened. This family, taking in others who needed help as well, were surviving the grief of living without their father/husband/son. A very good book showing the very beginning of what turned out to be a nightmare history for China for the next 30 years. The author is interviewed at the end of the book.

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- Kathleen

Inept historical novel

Has A Hundred Flowers turned you off from other books in this genre?

Nope.


What didn’t you like about Simon Vance’s performance?

It was emotionless and bland.


Any additional comments?

I stopped listening because of the accumulation of historical errors. The hospital scene, in particular, is one from today's modern hospitals not late 1950s China or anywhere in the world. The story was not engaging enough to overcome the sloppiness of the writing.

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- S. Publicker

Book Details

  • Release Date: 08-07-2012
  • Publisher: Macmillan Audio