Book Review: Bury What We Cannot Take

Richly complex and evocative, Bury What We Cannot Take explores the conflict in individuals and communities in Mao’s China.

In the summer of 1957, Seok Koon must choose to leave one of her children behind as she escapes Mao’s China for Hong Kong. Twelve-year-old Ah Lim, whose actions gave the family sudden cause to flee, will go; his nine-year-old sister, San San, will stay behind.

So begins Seok Koon’s desperate quest to reunite her family. Her husband’s attention is torn between his Hong Kong mistress, his devastated finances, and his ambivalence towards his ‘old’ family.

San San, abandoned but determined, takes the crossing to Hong Kong into her own hands. And Ah Lim must decide which he loves most: the Party or his family.

Bury What We Cannot Take is an empathetic evocation of the conflicts within individuals, a family and a nation in the grips of the Cultural Revolution.

Author: Kirstin Chen
Publisher: Little A

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