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A Hundred Flowers by Gail Tsukiyama
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Aug 09, 12

bookshelves: historical-fiction
Read from August 04 to 05, 2012

A Hundred Flowers – Gail Tsukiyama
4 stars

“She marveled at nature's resiliency, its sheer stubbornness to survive.”

Those are the thoughts of Auntie Song, one of the characters in Gail Tsukiyama’s newest book. It is the story of an extended family told from five different perspectives through a year of many changes. Some of the challenges they face are common to many lives; a child’s accident, grief at the death of a spouse, the birth of a child. Other concerns are unique to the cataclysmic social changes of Mao Tse-Tung’s regime.

The family consists of Kai Ying, the mother of Tao, her elderly father-in law, Wei, and Auntie Song, a courtesy aunt who occupies a portion of their family home. As the year progresses a pregnant , homeless teenager joins the family. Much of the family’s unique distress is due to its absent member. Sheng, the husband, the father, the beloved son, has been arrested and sent to a distant reeducation camp.

I liked all of these characters. They are very human in their strengths and weaknesses. Kai Ying has admirable sensitivity to her patients as she prepares her herbal remedies and Auntie Song’s optimism and strong survival instincts are inspiring. The book is somewhat slow and occasionally disjointed as the storytelling shifts from one person to another, but the overall picture of this family was very satisfying. They have nature’s resiliency and a sheer stubbornness to survive.



My book was an arc. It went on sale this week.
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