A Hundred Flowers
A Hundred Flowers
MacMillan Audio, Compact Disc, 9781427222497
Publication Date: August 7, 2012
A powerful new novel about an ordinary family facing extraordinary times at the start of the Chinese Cultural Revolution
China, 1957. Chairman Mao has declared a new openness in society: "Let a hundred flowers bloom; let a hundred schools of thought contend." Many intellectuals fear it is only a trick, and Kai Ying's husband, Sheng, a teacher, has promised not to jeopardize their safety or that of their young son, Tao. But one July morning, just before his sixth birthday, Tao watches helplessly as Sheng is dragged away for writing a letter criticizing the Communist Party and sent to a labor camp for "reeducation."
A year later, still missing his father desperately, Tao climbs to the top of the hundred-year-old kapok tree in front of their home, wanting to see the mountain peaks in the distance. But Tao slips and tumbles thirty feet to the courtyard below, badly breaking his leg.
As Kai Ying struggles to hold her small family together in the face of this shattering reminder of her husband's absence, other members of the household must face their own guilty secrets and strive to find peace in a world where the old sense of order is falling. Once again, Tsukiyama brings us a powerfully moving story of ordinary people facing extraordinary circumstances with grace and courage.
Simon Vance is an award-winning actor and an AudioFile Golden Voice with over forty Earphones Awards. He has won thirteen prestigious Audie Awards and was Booklist's very first Voice of Choice in 2008. He has narrated more than eight hundred audiobooks over almost thirty years, beginning when he was a radio newsreader for the BBC in London.
Simon Vance is the critically acclaimed narrator of approximately 400 audiobooks, winner of forty-one "AudioFile" Earphones Awards, and a six-time Audies recipient. He was the winner of the 2012 Audie Awards for Best Male Narrator, the 2011 Best Voice in Biography and History, and the 2010 Best Voice in fiction by "AudioFile" magazine. "Audiofile" magazine named him a Golden Voice, and "Booklist" magazine named him a Voice of Choice.
Recently, Vance narrated Hilary Mantel s "Bring Up the Bodies" (a 2013 Audie Awards winner), Bram Stoker s "Dracula" (winner of two 2013 Audie awards), and Benjamin Hoff s "The Tao of Pooh" by (winner of one 2013 Audie Awards and two nominations). Some of his best-selling and most critically acclaimed performances include Mark Logue and Peter Conradi s "The King's Speech", Ian Fleming s "Casino Royale", Oscar Wilde s "The Picture of Dorian Gray", all 21 titles of Patrick O Brian s "Master and Commander" series, Frank Herbert s original "Dune" series and Stieg Larsson s "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo".
“Tsukiyama’s tale of love, loss, and courage is brought to life by Simon Vance. Narrating in a soft, straightforward tone, Vance is understated but renders the characters well. With only minor shifts in tone and dialect, Vance creates well-rounded and believable characters without even remotely attempting to tackle a Chinese accent. The result is brilliantly realized listening that will have listeners enthralled from start to finish.” – Publishers Weekly, starred review
“The point of view alternates among three generations of individuals, and Vance meets the challenge by adjusting his pitch and tone to telegraph each change. The character-driven novel is enhanced by Vance’s insightful pacing and restrained use of drama.” – Audiofile Magazine
“This brilliant portrayal of a family torn half apart and mending like the kapok tree that Tao falls from is brought to life by the familiar voice of Simon Vance…He brings Sheng’s family to life with his warm and inviting voice. Tsukiyama’s story and Vance’s voice make for a delightful journey into the early years of Communist China, when the promise of a better China never seemed so bleak.” – New World Review
Praise for the print edition of A HUNDRED FLOWERS:
"I was following this family almost as though it were my own and stayed all the way to the end of their story." —All Things Considered, NPR
"The tenderness [Tsukiyama] shows for her characters creates a sympathetic portrait of intellectuals trying to live honestly in the shadow of oppression." —Publishers Weekly
“Tsukiyama’s close attention to detail and descriptive language paint a vivid picture of the daily life of Kai Ying and her family. Tsukiyama gently envelops the reader into the quiet sadness that permeates the entire household while weaving in the multiple hardships the family faces under communism. Strength of community; support and love of family, both natural and adopted; and the ability to heal and overcome loss are major themes within the moving novel.” —Booklist
"Best-selling author Gail Tsukiyama, recipient of PEN Oakland/Josephine Miles Literary Award, takes us back to those times not by painting a panorama but in her thoughtful and forthright way by showing the consequences for one family." —Library Journal