Tag Archives: Madeleine Thien

Do Book Blog Reviews Have Real Influence?

Blog Influence Snoopy Cartoon

The book blogger versus traditional literary critic debate has been rumbling on for a while now, especially as it is noticeable that endorsements from bloggers are increasingly used alongside reviews by established journalists. However, I was recently surprised to find a quote from my review of Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien inside the UK paperback edition published by Granta. I hadn’t known my review was going to be used for this purpose (but I don’t object to it) and I also didn’t receive a free copy from the publisher in exchange for my comments. Continue reading

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Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien

Do Not Say We Have Nothing Madeleine ThienShortlisted for this year’s Man Booker Prize, ‘Do Not Say We Have Nothing’ by Madeleine Thien is a multi-generational saga of two families set against the backdrop of key events in 20th century Chinese history, from the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution to the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989. In Vancouver in the early 1990s, Chinese refugee Ai-ming comes to stay with Marie whose father Jiang Kai committed suicide in 1989 when she was ten years old. Kai, a talented concert pianist, knew Ai-ming’s father Sparrow, an equally gifted composer, when they studied music in the 1960s at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music with Sparrow’s cousin Zhuli, a violin prodigy. Through fragments from a series of notebooks and diaries, Marie searches for answers about her father and his life in China during a turbulent period of the country’s history. Continue reading

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