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A Hundred Flowers

A Novel

by Gail Tsukiyama

A Hundred Flowers by Gail Tsukiyama X
A Hundred Flowers by Gail Tsukiyama
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  • Published Aug 2013
    304 pages
    Genre: Literary Fiction

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Page 4 of 4
There are currently 26 member reviews
for A Hundred Flowers
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  • Beth (USA)
    A Hundred Flowers
    I selected this book because friends have been telling me for quite some time to try one of Gail Tsukiyama’s books. As a result, I went into this one with very high expectations and I am afraid that I was disappointed.
    I simply could not connect at all with any of the characters, and the book moved at an excruciatingly slow place. I have no problem with books where the action is limited, and the work is essentially a character study. Here, though, because the characters felt so remote, I was left with a book where nothing really happened, and I had no feeling for the people who were ruminating on their lives. I think perhaps I was expecting a book more along the lines of those written by Lisa See, and A Hundred Flowers was not in that vein.
    I don’t mean to imply at all that this is a bad book -- it is very well written in fact. It just was not for me. I will be curious to see if this book is an anomaly, or if those who love her other books love this one as well.
  • Judith B. (Omaha, Nebraska)
    Fails to Deliver
    Having enjoyed "Women of the Silk" and being a frequent traveler to China, I was eager to read Tsukiyama's latest. However, the two-dimensional characters failed to engage me, and I really didn't care about the outcome. The book did fulfill my expectations in portraying how devastating the late 1950s were for the people of China. The flow of the plot was awkward due to the short chapters and constant switching of character focus. Fortunately each chapter was designated with the character's name. At times I felt as if I were reading a journalistic account rather than a novel. The book should appeal to readers who enjoy an overview of modern China. It is an appropriate choice for book group discussions as there are many insightful comments about life in China.
  • Beth M. (Scarsdale, NY)
    I have loved Gail Tsukiyama's books, especially Samurai's Garden. This one was enjoyable and a quick read but it was definitely not her best. The story takes place during 5 months of China's Cultural Revolution when the father of an ordinary family is taken away for voicing his opinion. The story is told from the perspective of different family members although their voices all have the same tone. Through these characters we learn what happened and how secrets and misunderstandings have been harbored. The most compelling voice is that of a 15 year old homeless, pregnant girl who becomes connected to the family. It is an easy novel to read and the author does bring all the story lines to a purposeful resolution. Having said that, I was left feeling like the depth of the story was missing. It felt more like a Young Adult novel.
  • Carole C. (Upper Marlboro, MD)
    A Hundred Flowers; No Literary Bouquet
    Anticipation of a compelling story that would provide insight into the terrible period of suppression, anti-intellectualism, and desecration of the arts under the rule of China's Mao Tse-Tung and the People's Party led me to choose Gail Tsukiyama's "A Hundred Flowers" to review. I was sorely disappointed. The plot was predictable. Although each short chapter was titled with the name of a character, the point-of-view was third person, which in this case resulted in characters with little depth or distinction. Tao, the seven-year-old, displays some emotional growth in his understanding of his grandfather Wei by the end of the book. Perhaps the Kapok tree shows the most growth; at least its machete-made scar has healed.
  • Marjorie H. (Woodstock, GA)
    Any book exploring the horror of the Chinese Revolution evokes profound sorrow, disbelief and visceral fear that it could happen anywhere. However, this book failed to produce anything but a desire to finish it. The characters were incredibly one dimensional, the writing - almost juvenile. To take a serious topic and trivialize it to this extent was a profound disappointment.


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