Do Not Say We Have Nothing
by Madeleine Thien
"Do Not Say We Have Nothing, by Madeleine Thien, still haunts me. A
novel of charismatic truth where reality feels like myth and myth is
history. A young woman and her ancestors live, and do not live, through
the Chinese Cultural Revolution. Gorgeous storytelling." ~ Louise Erdrich
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. I was ten years old.
Master storyteller Madeleine Thien takes us inside an extended family in China, showing us the lives of two successive generations those who lived through Mao s Cultural Revolution and their children, who became the students protesting in Tiananmen Square. At the center of this epic story are two young women, Marie and Ai-Ming. Through their relationship Marie strives to piece together the tale of her fractured family in present-day Vancouver, seeking answers in the fragile layers of their collective story. Her quest will unveil how Kai, her enigmatic father, a talented pianist, and Ai-Ming s father, the shy and brilliant composer, Sparrow, along with the violin prodigy Zhuli were forced to reimagine their artistic and private selves during China s political campaigns and how their fates reverberate through the years with lasting consequences.
With maturity and sophistication, humor and beauty, Thien has crafted a novel that is at once intimate and grandly political, rooted in the details of life inside China yet transcendent in its universality.