Gail Tsukiyama’s words are simple. Her story is simple. But her words are poetic. Her story is beautiful.
Tsukiyama’s A Hundred Flowers tells of the Chineese communist crackdown on intellectuals in the late 1950’s. The story revolves around Kai Ying, a devoted mother, wife, and daughter-in-law. In the first few pages Kai Ying’s husband, Sheng, is torn from his family and sent to a labor camp for his letter criticizing the Communist Party. From that moment, Kai Ying must endure the hardships of uncertainty, silence, and single parenthood. Kai Ying is resilient and strong. She perseveres. Unfortunately, in her perseverance, she uncovers painful secrets.
The story line is straightforward, but filled with poignant moments that draw the characters close to your heart. And there is a sub-plot, gently and expertly weaved in, that nearly made me cry each time it became the focus.
Tsukiyama’s soft tone takes on the cadence of a lullaby. The great hope and deep love in this story will wrap you up in a warm, comfortable blanket.