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Do Not Say We Have Nothing

Do Not Say We Have Nothing

Published by Granta Books

In Canada in 1991, ten-year-old Marie and her mother invite a guest into their home: a young woman called Ai-Ming, who has fled China in the aftermath of the Tiananmen Square protests. 

Ai-Ming tells Marie 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 story 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.

Do Not Say We Have Nothing

About the Author

Madeleine Thien

Madeleine Thien is the author of the story collection Simple Recipes (2001) and the novels Certainty and Dogs at the Perimeter, which was shortlisted for Berlin’s 2014 International Literary Award and won the Frankfurt Book Fair’s 2015 LiBeraturpreis.  Her books and stories have been translated into 23 languages. Her essays have appears in Granta, the Guardian, the Financial Times, Five Dials, and Brick, and her story ‘The Wedding Cake’ was shortlisted for the 2015 Sunday Times EFT Short Story Award.  The daughter of Malaysian-Chinese immigrants to Canada, she lives in Montreal.