Read advance reader review of A Hundred Flowers by Gail Tsukiyama, page 3 of 4

Summary | Reviews | More Information | More Books

A Hundred Flowers

A Novel

by Gail Tsukiyama

A Hundred Flowers by Gail Tsukiyama X
A Hundred Flowers by Gail Tsukiyama
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' rating:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Published Aug 2013
    304 pages
    Genre: Literary Fiction

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book

Buy This Book

About this book


Page 3 of 4
There are currently 26 member reviews
for A Hundred Flowers
Order Reviews by:
  • Jan M. (Jenks, OK)
    Harsh and Sweet
    Author Gail Tsukiyama gives her readers a glimpse of the harshness of life in China during the time the Communists were in power. Yet, at the same time, she shares with us the gentleness of her characters. Kai Ying, the mother of Tao is so strong as she manages to carry on, yet her kind nature reveals itself when she takes in Suyin, a 15 year old homeless and pregnant girl. Grandfather Wei is amazing in his tenacity as he travels to see his imprisoned son, and it was neat the way the writer introduced us to a new character,Tian, during his train trip to the prison.
    It was interesting to me the way the writer moved from character to character seamlessly. The book flowed well and always kept this reader looking forward to what was going to happen next. This is a book I will suggested to my book club as I think it might generate some interesting discussion.
  • Carole A. (Denver, CO)
    A Bouquet of Flowers
    It is always exciting for another Gail Tsukiyama to appear! I enjoy her skill with language and the ability to build a plot and characters that draw you into the book from the beginning. A Hundred Flowers was no exception to this expectation. It offered a bouquet of language, setting, plot and characters. Yes, I always want more information about the characters and the situations. One test for me of an enjoyable book is finishing and wanting more - the next chapter. Perhaps the next book. The facts about China at this period and time were interesting and gave a good insight as to what the citizens were enduring. Certainly the story was specific to China at this time but in a broader sense many of the emotions and situations encountered by the characters held true for other people in other countries. Tsukiyama gives a true vision of what extended family should mean and how it enhances life for the very young thru the golden years. A Hundred Flowers would make a good Book Club selection for the discussions of China as well as how the personal life situations encountered are handled.
  • Diane L. (Huntsville, AL)
    Engaging novel but left me hanging
    A Hundred Flowers is a simple yet elegant novel set in China during the months of July through November of 1958. The book begins with the young boy Tao and his mishaps from climbing a tree. The author uses the framework of an unfolding flower to advance the story--Tao first speaks, then his mother, grandfather, onward to close friends, to strangers who intersect the growing story. Having different people speak about the developing stories is very engaging.

    My problem with the book is that I feel the author has established a wonderful "tree" structure for the book but has failed to fully develop the "flowers". Only Tao and his grandfather Wei are given below the surface character development. Everyone else is a bare "branch".

    The novel does resolve the major question of the story, what happened to Tao's father, but I felt the story left many questions about the characters (including Tao!) unanswered. It was like the author decided the tree was sketched and that was all she had to do; we would enjoy speculating on the rest.

    If you like a light read and are comfortable with open endings, you will enjoy this book. If you are like me and don't like loose endings, I'd advise you to look elsewhere.
  • Marcia M. (Woburn, MA)
    Great Expectations
    Having heard so much about Gail Tsukiyama's writing, I was very excited to receive this ARC of A Hundred Flowers. I really wanted to like this story set in the China of 1957; but alas, my excitement faded as I plodded through this book. I never really connected to these characters, and I felt these characters never really connected to (or convinced me about) the social horrors going on around them. Perhaps this was not just the right time for me and this book to meet. For now, I'll put in in the "have to reread" this pile. Maybe I'll get it the second time through.
  • Sandra S. (Kula, HI)
    A Hundred Flowers
    I chose to review this book because I have been reading a lot about China both fiction and non fiction, especially about Mau. I found this book quite unrealistic in the way the family was able to get by when the Sheng had been sent to hard labor camp for his alledged letter written during the time of "A Hundred Flowers." I think they would have been far more deprived. They never lacked for food or for herbs for Kai Yings practice. I tired of hearing about the herbs and the garden of Song. Sweet story but I feel unrealistic
  • Andrea B. (Clinton, WA)
    Slow moving story
    This story takes place during the time in China when citizens are encouraged by Mao to express their thoughts about the government (1956). Unfortunately, this suggestion backfires on the family in this story when one of the family members writes a letter critiquing the government. The arrest of the man of the house is devastating to his father, wife and son. The story follows the thoughts and experiences of each of the family members that are left behind, as well as a young pregnant girl that is taken in by the family. The characters are well drawn and believable, as is the setting and the political situation, from what I know of China during that time. Although this was an interesting story, the lack of action and the rather abrupt ending kept me from giving this book a more enthusiastic rating. I have enjoyed other books by this author more than I enjoyed this one.
  • Linda W. (Walnut Creek, CA)
    A Hundred Flowers
    The first word that comes to mind is quiet. The story centers around a family coming to terms with the new reality that is Communist China under Mao. At the heart of the story is a family.
    Three generations of the Lee family live in what used to be the family's villa. Sheng is the husband of Kay Ying, father of Tao and son of Wei. He has been arrested and sent off for reeducation because of a letter sent to Chairman Mao critical of the regime. Dealing with the effects of this arrest, is the plot that drives this story.

    While all of the characters are appealing, I would not recommend this title for a book club choice because I don't see much to discuss.


Become a Member

Join BookBrowse today to start discovering exceptional books!

Find out more

Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: Hello Beautiful
    Hello Beautiful
    by Ann Napolitano
    Ann Napolitano's much-anticipated Hello Beautiful pulls the reader into a warm, loving familial ...
  • Book Jacket: The West
    The West
    by Naoíse Mac Sweeney
    It's become common for history books and courses to reconsider the emphasis on "Western Civilization...
  • Book Jacket
    A Death in Denmark
    by Amulya Malladi
    Can a mystery novel be informative, intriguing and deeply comforting all at once? Amulya Malladi ...
  • Book Jacket
    Shrines of Gaiety
    by Kate Atkinson
    A few years ago, magazines ran pieces about how the 2020s were likely to be the 1920s all over again...

Book Club Discussion

Book Jacket
The First Conspiracy
by Brad Meltzer & Josh Mensch
A remarkable and previously untold piece of American history—the secret plot to kill George Washington

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Paper Names
    by Susie Luo

    A propulsive and sweeping story of family, identity and the American experience—for fans of Jean Kwok and Mary Beth Keane.

  • Book Jacket

    Pieces of Blue
    by Holly Goldberg Sloan

    A hilarious and heartfelt novel for fans of Maria Semple and Emma Straub.

Win This Book
Win Such Kindness

30 Copies to Give Away!

Few writers paint three-dimensional characters with such verve and humanism.
Booklist (starred review)



Solve this clue:

S I F A R Day

and be entered to win..

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.