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Bury what we cannot take : a novel

by Chen, Kirstin, 1981-

Format: Print Book 2018
Availability: Available at 3 Libraries 3 of 3 copies
Available (3)
Location Collection Call #
CLP - Main Library First Floor - Fiction Stacks FICTION Chen
Location  CLP - Main Library
Collection  First Floor - Fiction Stacks
Call Number  FICTION Chen
Mt. Lebanon Public Library Fiction CHEN Kirstin
Location  Mt. Lebanon Public Library
Collection  Fiction
Call Number  CHEN Kirstin
Robinson Library Fiction FIC CHEN
Location  Robinson Library
Collection  Fiction
Call Number  FIC CHEN

"Complex and rich, Chen's story serves as a fascinating window into a unique period of history and the plight of one displaced family." -- Harper's Bazaar

The day nine-year-old San San and her twelve-year-old brother, Ah Liam, discover their grandmother taking a hammer to a framed portrait of Chairman Mao is the day that forever changes their lives. To prove his loyalty to the Party, Ah Liam reports his grandmother to the authorities. But his belief in doing the right thing sets in motion a terrible chain of events.

Now they must flee their home on Drum Wave Islet, which sits just a few hundred meters across the channel from mainland China. But when their mother goes to procure visas for safe passage to Hong Kong, the government will only issue them on the condition that she leave behind one of her children as proof of the family's intention to return.

Against the backdrop of early Maoist China, this captivating and emotional tale follows a brother, a sister, a father, and a mother as they grapple with their agonizing decision, its far-reaching consequences, and their hope for redemption.

Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "Chen's second novel (following 2014's Soy Sauce for Beginners) begins with a literal bang: the sound of Ah Liam's grandmother smashing a portrait of Chairman Mao with a hammer. When 12-year-old Ah Liam, an aspiring party member, decides to report his grandmother, he has no idea what he is setting into motion. After the authorities begin investigating his family, his mother and grandmother are forced to flee with him to Hong Kong and to leave his 9-year-old sister, San San, behind. Though the story begins through Ah Liam's eyes, the rest of the novel largely belongs to San San as she struggles to find a way to escape to Hong Kong on her own. Chen draws a lovable protagonist in San San, and her deft use of suspense makes the novel a quick and satisfying read. Other characters are less successful, especially Ah Liam and his father, whose plotlines fall to the background and are largely unresolved. Chen has drawn an engaging, if uneven, portrait of China in the late 1950s during the rise of Maoism.--Winterroth, Amanda Copyright 2018 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Chen opens a window into 1950s Maoist China in her evocative second novel (following Soy Sauce for Beginners), which features three generations of the Ong family. Nine-year-old San San and her older brother, Ah Liam, live in a household run by their mother and grandmother on Drum Wave Islet, a small island off the coast of mainland China. Their father, Ah Zhai, has worked in Hong Kong for years, keeping a mistress, supporting his family from afar, and hiding his financial woes. When he sees the writing on the wall about the Communist crackdown on capitalism and anything Western, he devises a ruse to get his bourgeois family to Hong Kong. Meanwhile, his son, vying for a place in the Communist Youth League on Drum Wave Islet, decides to up his chances for acceptance by reporting his grandmother's destruction of Chairman Mao's portrait. Chaos ensues; the family has to leave San San behind with the servants, hoping to bring her to Hong Kong later. This leads to a new set of complications. Chen captures the complex and terrifying political environment of the time through San San's horrifying experience trying to reach her family, as well as through the depiction of the consequences of family loyalty over party loyalty. This is a fascinating family portrait. (Mar.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."

Additional Information
Subjects Families -- China -- Fiction.
China -- History -- 1949-1976 -- Fiction.
Domestic fiction.
Historical fiction.
Publisher New York :2018
Edition First edition.
Language English
Description 286 pages : map ; 22 cm
ISBN 9781542049702
Other Classic View