Winner of the Scotiabank Giller Prize 2016
Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2016 | Shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2017
In Do Not Say We Have Nothing, Madeleine Thien brings to life one of the most significant political regimes of the 20th century and its traumatic legacy with intimacy, wit and moral complexity.
In Canada in 1991, ten-year-old Marie and her mother invite a guest into their home: a young woman, Ai-Ming, who has fled China in the aftermath of the Tiananmen Square protests. She tells Marie the story of her family in revolutionary China, from the crowded teahouses in the first days of Chairman Mao’s ascent to the Shanghai Conservatory in the 1960s and the events leading to the Beijing demonstrations of 1989. It’s a history of revolutionary idealism, music and silence, in which three musicians struggle to remain loyal to one another and to the music they have devoted their lives to during China’s Cultural Revolution. Their fates reverberate through the years, with lasting consequences for Ai-Ming – and for Marie.
Madeleine Thien was born in Vancouver and has been the recipient of numerous awards in her native Canada and further afield. Do Not Say We Have Nothing is her fourth novel.
‘Thien takes this history and weaves it into a vivid, magisterial novel that reaches back to China’s civil war and up to the present day . . . This is a moving and extraordinary evocation of the 20th-century tragedy of China, and deserves to cement Thien’s reputation as an important and compelling writer.’ – Guardian
‘It is a beautiful, sorrowful work. The book impresses in many senses: It stamps the memory with an afterimage; it successfully explores larger ideas about politics and art (the mind is never still while reading it); it has the satisfying, epic sweep of a 19th-century Russian novel, spanning three generations and lapping up against the shores of two continents.’ – New York Times
Too Much of a Good Thing
I see Frances Wood in that great tradition of intrepid British women explorers, like Mary Kingsley and Gertrude Bell. She sets out for China in 1975, when the Cultural Revolution is still going...Read more