Do Not Say We Have Nothing: A Novel

W. W. Norton & Company
19
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Winner of the Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Governor General's Literary Award
Finalist for the Man Booker Prize and the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction

"A powerfully expansive novel…Thien writes with the mastery of a conductor." —New York Times Book Review

“In a single year, my father left us twice. The first time, to end his marriage, and the second, when he took his own life. I was ten years old.”

Master storyteller Madeleine Thien takes us inside an extended family in China, showing us the lives of two successive generations—those who lived through Mao’s Cultural Revolution and their children, who became the students protesting in Tiananmen Square. At the center of this epic story are two young women, Marie and Ai-Ming. Through their relationship Marie strives to piece together the tale of her fractured family in present-day Vancouver, seeking answers in the fragile layers of their collective story. Her quest will unveil how Kai, her enigmatic father, a talented pianist, and Ai-Ming’s father, the shy and brilliant composer, Sparrow, along with the violin prodigy Zhuli were forced to reimagine their artistic and private selves during China’s political campaigns and how their fates reverberate through the years with lasting consequences.

With maturity and sophistication, humor and beauty, Thien has crafted a novel that is at once intimate and grandly political, rooted in the details of life inside China yet transcendent in its universality.

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About the author

Madeleine Thien is the author of three novels and a collection of stories, and her work has been translated into twenty-five languages. Her most recent novel, Do Not Say We Have Nothing, was shortlisted for the 2016 Man Booker Prize. She lives in Montreal, Canada.

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Reviews

4.1
19 total
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Additional Information

Publisher
W. W. Norton & Company
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Published on
Oct 11, 2016
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Pages
480
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ISBN
9780393609899
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Family Life
Fiction / Historical
Fiction / Literary
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Paul Beatty
Winner of the Man Booker Prize

Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award in Fiction

Winner of the John Dos Passos Prize for Literature

New York Times Bestseller

Los Angeles Times Bestseller

Named One of the 10 Best Books of the Year by The New York Times Book Review

Named a Best Book of the Year by Newsweek, The Denver Post, BuzzFeed, Kirkus Reviews, and Publishers Weekly

Named a "Must-Read" by Flavorwire and New York Magazine's "Vulture" Blog

A biting satire about a young man's isolated upbringing and the race trial that sends him to the Supreme Court, Paul Beatty's The Sellout showcases a comic genius at the top of his game. It challenges the sacred tenets of the United States Constitution, urban life, the civil rights movement, the father-son relationship, and the holy grail of racial equality—the black Chinese restaurant.

Born in the "agrarian ghetto" of Dickens—on the southern outskirts of Los Angeles—the narrator of The Sellout resigns himself to the fate of lower-middle-class Californians: "I'd die in the same bedroom I'd grown up in, looking up at the cracks in the stucco ceiling that've been there since '68 quake." Raised by a single father, a controversial sociologist, he spent his childhood as the subject in racially charged psychological studies. He is led to believe that his father's pioneering work will result in a memoir that will solve his family's financial woes. But when his father is killed in a police shoot-out, he realizes there never was a memoir. All that's left is the bill for a drive-thru funeral.

Fueled by this deceit and the general disrepair of his hometown, the narrator sets out to right another wrong: Dickens has literally been removed from the map to save California from further embarrassment. Enlisting the help of the town's most famous resident—the last surviving Little Rascal, Hominy Jenkins—he initiates the most outrageous action conceivable: reinstating slavery and segregating the local high school, which lands him in the Supreme Court.

Anthony Doerr
WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE
From the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr, the beautiful, stunningly ambitious instant New York Times bestseller about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.

Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.

In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance. More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge.

Doerr’s “stunning sense of physical detail and gorgeous metaphors” (San Francisco Chronicle) are dazzling. Deftly interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, he illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another. Ten years in the writing, a National Book Award finalist, All the Light We Cannot See is a magnificent, deeply moving novel from a writer “whose sentences never fail to thrill” (Los Angeles Times).
David Szalay
Finalist for the 2016 Man Booker Prize
Winner of the 2016 Paris Review Plimpton Prize for Fiction

A magnificent and ambitiously conceived portrait of contemporary life, by a genius of realism

Nine men. Each of them at a different stage in life, each of them away from home, and each of them striving--in the suburbs of Prague, in an overdeveloped Alpine village, beside a Belgian motorway, in a dingy Cyprus hotel--to understand what it means to be alive, here and now. Tracing a dramatic arc from the spring of youth to the winter of old age, the ostensibly separate narratives of All That Man Is aggregate into a picture of a single shared existence, a picture that interrogates the state of modern manhood while bringing to life, unforgettably, the physical and emotional terrain of an increasingly globalized Europe. And so these nine lives form an ingenious and new kind of novel, in which David Szalay expertly plots a dark predicament for the twenty-first-century man.

Dark and disturbing, but also often wickedly and uproariously comic, All That Man Is is notable for the acute psychological penetration Szalay brings to bear on his characters, from the working-class ex-grunt to the pompous college student, the middle-aged loser to the Russian oligarch. Steadily and mercilessly, as this brilliantly conceived book progresses, the protagonist at the center of each chapter is older than the last one, it gets colder out, and All That Man Is gathers exquisite power. Szalay is a writer of supreme gifts--a master of a new kind of realism that vibrates with detail, intelligence, relevance, and devastating pathos.

Madeleine Thien
Die preisgekrönte Erzählsammlung der Autorin des gefeierten Romans „Jene Sehnsucht nach Gewissheit“: Sieben grandiose Familiengeschichten über Liebe und Verrat, über die Sehnsucht nach Geborgenheit und das Verlassenwerden, über Glück und Trauer. Sieben unvergessliche Geschichten, erzählt mit einer Wahrhaftigkeit und Eindringlichkeit, die ihresgleichen suchen.

Zwei Schwestern, junge Mädchen, halten vor ihrem früheren Haus Wache. Es ist der Geburtstag ihrer Mutter, und sie sind allein mit dem Bus ans andere Ende der Stadt gefahren, haben der Pflegefamilie nichts gesagt, weil sie hoffen, dass ihre Mutter, die eines Tages sang- und klanglos verschwunden ist, zu ihrem alten Haus kommt und nach ihnen sucht. Eine Frau entdeckt, dass ihr Mann vorhatte, sie zu verlassen und zu seiner Jugendliebe zurückzukehren. Er wurde abgewiesen. Als diese Fremde bei einem Autounfall ums Leben kommt, steht die Ehefrau vor der Entscheidung, wie sie mit ihrem gebrochenen Mann, seiner Trauer und ihrer eigenen Verzweiflung und Wut umgehen soll.

Eine Tochter erinnert sich an die bedingungslose Liebe, die sie als Kind für ihren Vater empfand, wie sie ihm fasziniert bei den Ritualen des Kochens – Reis waschen, Fisch zubereiten – zuschaute und zur Hand ging. Und sie erinnert sich an den Moment, in dem plötzlich alles in Frage gestellt war.

Madeleine Thien spürt in ihren Geschichten den oft krummen Wegen der Liebe nach. Mit wenigen Strichen fängt sie entscheidende Szenen ein, ob in der Kindheit oder im Leben von Erwachsenen, und zeigt erschreckend klar, wie Nähe, Vertrauen und Sehnsucht den Menschen erst empfänglich machen für den Schmerz.

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