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Reading Group #9
Madeleine Thien, Do Not Say We Have Nothing
6th February 2019 | 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
CAMPLE LINE Reading Group
Wednesday 6 February, 7-9pm
Join us for tea, coffee (decaff!) and conversation about our ninth read – Madeleine Thien’s Do Not Say We have Nothing (2016, Granta, 480 pages)
In Canada in 1990, ten-year-old Marie and her mother invite a guest into their home: a young woman who has fled China in the aftermath of the Tiananmen Square protests. Her name is Ai-ming.
As her relationship with Marie deepens. Ai-ming tells the story of her family in revolutionary China, from the crowded teahouses in the first days of Chairman Mao’s ascent, to the Shanghai Conservatory in the 1960s and the events leading to the Beijing demonstrations of 1989. It is a history of revolutionary idealism, music and silence, in which three musicians, the shy and brilliant composer Sparrow, the violin prodigy Zhuli, and the enigmatic pianist Kai struggle during China’s relentless Cultural Revolution to remain loyal to one another and to the music they have devoted their lives to. Forced to re-imagine their artistic and private selves, their fates reverberate through the years, with deep and lasting consequences for Ai-ming – and for Marie.
Madeleine Thien is the author of the story collection Simple Recipes (2001) and the novels Certainty (2006) and Dogs at the Perimeter (Granta, 2012). Her books and stories have been translated into 23 languages. The daughter of Malaysian-Chinese immigrants to Canada, she lives in Montreal.