There are really three stories going on this novel. I feel part of the most modern story, narrated by Marie, is excessive and tepid. It seems every book set in the past—and this one is, during China’s cultural revolution—must have a retrospective layer. Groan. The book’s best parts are set in the 1960’s and tell of Kai (Marie’s father) who plays the piano beautifully, his friend Sparrow who is an amazing composer, and Sparrow’s cousin, Zhuli who is a violin prodigy. The writing beautifully captures the futility of the revolution, and then, decades later, the protesting in Tiananmen Square. I learned a lot and really liked parts of this novel.
Gwenamon says: Fractured, but gripping in parts