The day nine-year-old San San and her twelve-year-old brother, Ah Liam, discover their grandmother taking a hammer to a framed portrait of Chairman Mao is the day that forever changes their lives. To prove his loyalty to the Party, Ah Liam reports his grandmother to the authorities. But his belief in doing the right thing sets in motion a terrible chain of events.Now they must flee their home on Drum Wave Islet, which sits just a few hundred meters across the channel from mainland China. But when their mother goes to procure visas for safe passage to Hong Kong, the government will only issue them on the condition that she leave behind one of her children as proof of the familys intention to return....
|Title||:||Bury What We Cannot Take|
|Number of Pages||:||289 pages|
|Url Type||:||Home » Bury » Bury What We Cannot Take|
Bury What We Cannot Take Reviews
This book painted a painful picture of communism in China when the borders closed and the awful choices a family might have to make to get out of there. Did I like it? It was decent but I appreciat the story and intention of the author behind it.
It’s a harrowing story, set in China in 1957: a young boy reports his grandmother to the authorities for taking a hammer to a portrait of Chairman Mao. Unfortunately, the extremely weak characterization meant that, a fifth of the way in, I didn’t care about anyone or anything that was happening. I shall not be continuing. Great cover, though.
Bury What We Cannot Take is a captivating novel about one family's attempt to flee from Communist China in 1957. Having been granted only 3 travel visas to Hong Kong for 4 family members, Seok Koon is forced to leave one of her children behind in order to legally exit the country, and Kirsten Chen explores the ramifications of this harrowing decision.
Bury What We Cannot Take is actually everything I had hoped Girls Burn Brighter was going to be. Both novels follow two parties which have been sep ...more
I look forward to reading more works by this author. Captivating story, well-written and interesting characters, but it did feel a bit too short and surface level. I feel like most of the time long books could be much shorter, but in this case I feel like this book should have been longer. Nonetheless I enjoyed the family dynamics, character arcs, and story of censorship and repression in Maoist China.
3.5 stars, rounded up to 4.
I loved San San, and Seok Koon's desperation to get her back.
Spoiler tag, just in case.
Ah Liam - Classic brainwashed kid, but very believable. Glad he made the right choice in the end.
Zhai and Lulu - I liked seeing Zhai come to realize that he really didn't know what he was doing and that he'd been living beyond his means, but I could have done without the Lulu side-story. It was clear that she was just with him for the lifestyle and didn't really love ...more
After an impulsive action is reported by one of its members, a family is forced to flee early communist China for Hong Kong, leaving behind one of the children with the hope that the child will be able to follow behind soon.
I was entranced pretty much right away by this novel, and I wanted to know what happened. The decision about which child to take and which to leave is made in a second. It's startling how quickly. Anyway, I don't want to say too much. But I thought the novel was well-done. M ...more
This was a beautifully immersive story and one I know I’ll be thinking about for a long time. Using multiple POVs, Kirstin Chen depicts a family torn apart by unthinkable circumstances. The way she reveals each character’s truths and struggles and triumphs and losses is masterful, elevating the story past the usual question of “what would I do?” to arrive at a deeper, more complex understanding: that there are moments in life which rob us of choice, leaving us in their wake trying to somehow get ...more
This novel's title, cover and prose are a class act. It's a gripping, heartfelt story set against the backdrop of Maoist China. The horrors of that communist regime are efficiently and effectively rendered and left me hurting at our capacity for cruelty and inhumanity. The wealth of details are vivid and visceral and brought both place and people alive. I wanted more in terms of character motivation and the novel's close, but am so glad to have read this fine work.