Do Not Say We Have Nothing

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Congratulations to Madeleine Thien, who won Canada’s top literary prize, The Scotiabank Giller Prize for her novel Do Not Say We Have Nothing.

I haven’t actually read the book, so can’t give it a proper review. I did try to start it but couldn’t quite get into it, as it is rather complex and infuses music into the writing as well, which is something I’m not familiar with or used to. Here is a synopsis from Indigo.ca:

“At the centre of this epic tale, as capacious and mysterious as life itself, are enigmatic Sparrow, a genius composer who wishes desperately to create music yet can find truth only in silence; his mother and aunt, Big Mother Knife and Swirl, survivors with captivating singing voices and an unbreakable bond; Sparrow’s ethereal cousin Zhuli, daughter of Swirl and storyteller Wen the Dreamer, who as a child witnesses the denunciation of her parents and as a young woman becomes the target of denunciations herself; and headstrong, talented Kai, best friend of Sparrow and Zhuli, and a determinedly successful musician who is a virtuoso at masking his true self until the day he can hide no longer. Here, too, is Kai’s daughter, the ever-questioning mathematician Marie, who pieces together the tale of her fractured family in present-day Vancouver, seeking a fragile meaning in the layers of their collective story.”

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