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473 pages, Hardcover
First published May 31, 2016
"How had he never noticed, Sparrow thought tipsily, just how deeply music could lie?"The form of the novel itself seems to be somewhat musical, repeating themes, circling back around to previous events or movements, ending where we begin. It's a symphony. An opera. Something like that. This allows the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, aka "the June 4th incident," to be the climax of the work. The narrative moves between generations, but also between various locations in China and two eras in Canada.
"The only life that matters is in your mind. The only truth is the one that lives invisibly, that waits even after you close the book. Silence, too, is a kind of music. Silence will last."Another thread running through the novel is this book of records, a book left by the narrator's father, and the various ways that this carries the details of the stories is best left to the discovery of the reader. I liked the tangent this spun off into and how it came back together in the end.
"We were not unalike, my father and I; we wanted to keep a record. We imagined there were truths waiting for us - about ourselves and those we loved, about the times we lived in- within our reach, if only we had the eyes to see them."