Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien

Do Not Say We Have Nothing

Madeleine Thien

A sweeping novel, that is both a family saga and a historical overview of the cultural revolution in China. Central to the story are a group of classical musicians, and music intertwines everything in the book which is poetic and beautiful at times, yet also, inevitably, violent and painful. Stories within stories, and flashbacks, make this confusing at times, yet it’s an unsettling epic well worth reading.

Extract

They were sitting as near to one another as possible without touching. The music filled the space between them, its motifs turning over as if the composer had no conclusion, only movements that came around in a spiral, rising each time to a new beginning but an old place.

Parallels
  • Startling Moon by Liu Hong
  • Three sisters by Bi Feiyu