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In 1956 Chairman Mao declared that China should, "let a hundred flowers bloom, let a hundred schools of thought contend," ostensibly to promote a new liberation of thought in China. One year later this policy was abruptly changed to include "re-education camps" for those who expressed thought that opposed the regime. Gail Tsukiyama's novel, A Hundred Flowers, explores the way in which one family was torn apart by these re-education camps.
The story is written in delicate prose and almost feels like it's been translated into English at times (it hasn't, it's just the author's style, which is both lyrical and direct, and subtle at times). I particularly love when a novel can transport me to another time and place and make me feel like I've really learned something about another culture or time period. I don't think of myself as someone who likes "historical fiction" but maybe I just don't like the heaving bosom frothiness of Phillipa Gregory and similar "bosoms and bustles" writers. There have been a LOT of historical novels that take place in the past 150 years that I really enjoyed, including this one.
Disclaimer: I received a digital galley of this book free from the publisher from NetGalley.com. I was not obliged to write a favourable review, or even any review at all. The opinions expressed are strictly my own.