This excellent multigenerational novel about a family of talented musicians traces recent Chinese history and politics from the occupation by Japan through Mao Tse-Tung’s revolutionary rule to the Cultural Revolution and the Tiananmen Square massacre. The narrators vary from grandparents to their children and grandchildren, each adding emotional richness to the impact of these events. Throughout, music and a secret “book of records” tie everything together.
The book has won the Giller Prize and the Governor-General’s Award for fiction. (W.W. Norton)