[Book Review] The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood

41rfwxn5islTitle: The Blind Assassin
Author: Margaret Atwood
Genre: Fiction, historical fiction, literary fiction, mystery, sci-fi

Where I got the book: I purchased this book through Book Depository.

My rating: ★★★★★

Summary: In 1945, a young woman named Laura Chase dies under ambiguous circumstances. Several decades later, Laura’s sister Iris recalls her memories of her childhood and the events and relationships that affected her wealthy, eccentric family, including her unhappy marriage to businessman Richard Griffen. Intertwined with Iris’ story are chapters from “The Blind Assassin”, the scandalous novel that made Laura famous. In it, two illicit lovers create a science fiction story about a blind killer on a distant planet. Together, these stories gradually illuminate the secrets of the Chase family.

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[Book Review] Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien

30037751Title: Do Not Say We Have Nothing
Author: Madeleine Thien
Genre: Fiction, historical fiction, literary fiction

Where I got the book: I purchased this book through Book Depository.

My rating: ★★★★★

Summary: Through three successive generations we experience momentous historical events of post-war China. The children of those who survived Mao’s Cultural Revolution in the 1970s became the students protesting in Tiananmen Square in 1989. In a different narrative set in present-day Vancouver, 10-year-old Marie and her mother take in a young Chinese refugee named Ai-Ming. In the years to follow, Marie tries to make sense of her complicated and fractured family history, and her quest unveils how her layered story directly relates to Ai-Ming’s. This epic saga is skillfully weaved together by music, politics, family, and loss.

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[Book Review] Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

29983711Title: Pachinko
Author: Min Jin Lee
Genre: Fiction, literary fiction, historical fiction

Where I got the book: I purchased this book through Book Depository.

My rating: ★★★★★

Summary: Beginning in the early 1900s and spanning several decades, we follow one Korean family through multiple generations. Sunja, abandoned by her wealthy yakuza lover and unhappily pregnant with his child, is saved when a young Korean minister passing through on his way to Japan offers to marry her. He is a sickly man but gentle and understanding, and she decides to go with him to Osaka. Sunja’s decision is what sets off the saga of a family struggling to survive and prosper in a foreign land.

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[Book Review] The Unseen by Roy Jacobsen

18332844Title: The Unseen*
Author: Roy Jacobsen
Genre: Fiction, literary fiction, historical fiction

Where I got the book: I purchased this book at Norli.

My rating: ★★★★☆

Summary: In 1913, Ingrid Barrøy is born on Barrøy island off the coast of Helgeland, Norway. Her family is poor and subject to the forces of nature, but they’re hardworking and strong-willed. Island life is a constant struggle that pays very little, and when Ingrid comes of age she is sent to the mainland to work. But tragedy strikes, and Ingrid must again return to fight for her island and her home.

* I read this in its original language (Norwegian) under the title “De Usynlige”.

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[Book Review] The Explosion Chronicles by Yan Lianke

51emj1pgool-_sx323_bo1204203200_Title: The Explosion Chronicles
Author: Yan Lianke
Genre: Fiction, literary fiction, historical fiction, magical realism, mythorealism

Where I got the book: I purchased this book through Book Depository.

My rating: ★★☆☆☆

Summary: The village of Explosion was first founded by refugees fleeing a seismic volcanic eruption, hence the name “Explosion”. In the post-Mao era, it rapidly grows from a small rural community to a massive metropolis. Three of Explosion’s major families are behind this successful growth: the four Kong brothers, the daughter of the former village chief, and Cheng Quing, a former secretary turned politician and businesswoman. Through ambition, desire, and betrayal, these families transform their hometown into an urban superpower.

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[Book Review] Swallowing Mercury by Wioletta Greg

51oe4docmol-_sx317_bo1204203200_Title: Swallowing Mercury
Author: Wioletta Greg
Genre: Fiction, literary fiction, historical fiction

Where I got the book: I purchased this book through Book Depository.

My rating: ★★★★☆

Summary: Wiola lives in a close-knit agricultural community in Poland. She is a good Catholic girl who collects matchbox labels and has been brought up on fables and superstition. We follow her through ordinary days filled with extraordinary impressions, from childhood to adolescence.

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[Book Review] The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories by Ken Liu

41x3q5g6x2l-_sx331_bo1204203200_Title: The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories
Author: Ken Liu
Genre: Fiction, short stories, science fiction, speculative fiction, fantasy, historical fiction

Where I got the book: I purchased this book through Book Depository.

My rating: ★★★★★

Summary: A boy helps a hunted creature from Chinese folklore to adapt to a steampunk future. A mother expresses her love for her son by creating origami animals, which she magically brings to life. A couple offers people a chance to travel back in time to explore one of the hidden atrocities of the Second World War, but their invention has widespread consequences. This collection of fifteen short stories and novellas explores our technological advances and the individual’s assimilation into society.

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