Bury What We Cannot Take
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 family’s intention to return.

Bury What We Cannot Take Details

TitleBury What We Cannot Take
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseMar 20th, 2018
PublisherLittle A
ISBN-139781542049702
Rating
GenreFiction, Historical, Historical Fiction, Cultural, China, Asia

Bury What We Cannot Take Review

  • Rosh
    January 1, 1970
    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.
  • Diane S ☔
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 Twelve year old, Ah Liam is a staunch supporter of the cultural revolution and of Chairman Mao. So much so that he reports his own grandmother for taking a hammer to the picture in their house, the picture every house must have, of their beloved Chairman. Coming from a priviledged background, his family still living in their Villa, albeit on only one floor, but still maintaining a few servents, he already has much to overcome. This act though will start a crushing tide of circumstances, one 3.5 Twelve year old, Ah Liam is a staunch supporter of the cultural revolution and of Chairman Mao. So much so that he reports his own grandmother for taking a hammer to the picture in their house, the picture every house must have, of their beloved Chairman. Coming from a priviledged background, his family still living in their Villa, albeit on only one floor, but still maintaining a few servents, he already has much to overcome. This act though will start a crushing tide of circumstances, one that will find himself, his mother and grandma fleeing to Hong Kong, but forced to leave his nine year old sister San San, behind.This book starts out very powerfully, a close look at the cultural revolution and the fear and divisions it caused in families and in its citizens. A time when people were encouraged to tell on each other, to curry favor and gain in status. It is the story of a young girl left behind in the care of servants, that wants only to be reconnected with her family. She sees horrible things, endures much as she tries to escape. I loved the character of San San, hers was the most developed character, the rest just background.The last part of the book though I thought not as strong. I'm not sure a young, nine year old could do all the things, think the way she does, rationalize and carry out her plans. So I felt the last part of the book lost credibility and turned into an adventure story rather than the strong historical in which it started. Glad I read this though, I did enjoy it for the most part. It is definitely worth reading.ARC from Netgalley.
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  • Rachel
    January 1, 1970
    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 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 separated and which spend the novel seeking a reunion, and in both cases, these stories are filled to the brim with tragedy. But where Girls Burn Brighter indulges (at least in my opinion) a bit too heavily in the gruesome details of its characters' plights, Bury What We Cannot Take is more interested in the kind of resilience needed to survive. Though the chapters which follow the left-behind child can be difficult to read, I felt that the narrative was approached with sensitivity, and it quickly earned my emotional investment. This novel is deceptively short for 300 pages, and as a result, my only complaint is that at times it felt a bit rushed. Though I loved how compelling and immersive it was - I think I read 20% in one sitting and then finished it in another sitting the next day - certain plot points were glossed over, and I wouldn't have minded spending a bit more time with the Ong family.But ultimately, I really enjoyed this. It's a fantastic look at Communist China and its insidious regime, which follows a host of complex, sympathetic characters aged across multiple generations. Though I hadn't heard of Kirsten Chen before this, I'll definitely be looking into anything she writes in the future.Thank you to Netgalley, Little A, and Kirsten Chen for the advanced copy provided in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Stephanie Anze
    January 1, 1970
    "What if a mistake was too grave to live with? What if the guilt wormed its way deep into the flesh and grew more and more potent, devouring tissue and fat and skin, until one day, you looked down and your whole self had been ravaged and nothing remained?"When nine-year-old San San and twelve-year-old Ah Liam find that their grandma has taken a hammer against the portrait of Chairman Mao, they agree to remain silent. However, in an effort to please the party, Ah Liam reports his grandma. The fam "What if a mistake was too grave to live with? What if the guilt wormed its way deep into the flesh and grew more and more potent, devouring tissue and fat and skin, until one day, you looked down and your whole self had been ravaged and nothing remained?"When nine-year-old San San and twelve-year-old Ah Liam find that their grandma has taken a hammer against the portrait of Chairman Mao, they agree to remain silent. However, in an effort to please the party, Ah Liam reports his grandma. The family already had a plan to flee China, one that they have to expedite now. When Seok Koon, their mother, goes to procure exit visas she is given only three and must choose one child to leave behind. Confident that she will be able to save the child that stays, Seok Koon makes the gut-wrenching decision of who will leave and who stays.Kirstin Chen is a new author for me. Upon learning the premise of this book, I knew it was something I wanted to read. San San and Ah Liam arrive home from school and find that their grandmother is not in her usual seat, waiting for them. They do find her with a hammer and a smashed portrait of Mao. Knowing the strict rules, they remain quiet. Still, when the opportunity arises for Ah Liam to join the Youth League, he does what he thinks is correct and reports his grandmother. Following the incident, the family speeds up their plans to flee China. Unfortunately, Seok Koon only has an exit visa for one of her children. With a heavy heart, she leaves one of them behind but promises to secure passage for the other soon. I found the prose to be well written and thoughtful. What a moral conundrum. How is a mother supposed to choose between her children? Part coming-of-age, I especially like the narration of San San and Ah Liam. The narrative was harrowing, heartfelt and one that I read in two seatings. As each character struggles with their personal demons, they collectively worry for the one child left behind. Dealing with family and loyalty amid a country in turmoil, this was a great read.While I enjoyed this book, I do have some issues. I wish this book had been longer, expand on some matters further more. Since this has multiple points of view, I would have liked to hear more from all the characters, particularly Ah Liam. The ending felt abrupt and difficult to grasp. I was by no means expecting a "happily ever after" but wanted something more cohesive to what the narrative had presented. Chen did a great job a presenting the prevalent fear that dominated China. "Red fear" (duubed so for the Red Army) dominated homes, schools and the streets. Reporting family, neighbours and friends was encouraged. Public denunciations and self-critcisms were common and forced even on small children. Anyone believed to be "capitalistic", "rightist" or "bourgeis" was targeted and some were targeted by the party for unknown reasons. All and all, this book presents a compelling narrative with great historical references.
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  • Ingrid Contreras
    January 1, 1970
    In Bury What We Cannot Take, a misjudged moment of anger uproots a family. The very beginning of the novel finds twelve-year-old Ah-Liam and nine-year-old San San returning home from school to discover their grandmother kneeling before the family altar and crying, her skirt partially hiding a hammer. Overlooking the room is a portrait of Chairman Mao “smiling benevolently at all who gazed upon him, oblivious to the spiderweb of cracks that scarred him.”As recently as 2015, an individual defacing In Bury What We Cannot Take, a misjudged moment of anger uproots a family. The very beginning of the novel finds twelve-year-old Ah-Liam and nine-year-old San San returning home from school to discover their grandmother kneeling before the family altar and crying, her skirt partially hiding a hammer. Overlooking the room is a portrait of Chairman Mao “smiling benevolently at all who gazed upon him, oblivious to the spiderweb of cracks that scarred him.”As recently as 2015, an individual defacing a portrait of Chairman Mao faced a sentence of 14 months jail time. In Bury What We Cannot Take, Ah-Liam and San San imagine much more dire consequences. While San San tries to process her grandmother’s "treasonous capitalist act," her older brother Ah-Liam, fervent to become a member of the Maoist Youth League, writes to the party in secret to confess “the horrific manner in which his grandmother had insulted the Great Helmsman.”The Ong family tries a ruse to flee — but the government will only give an exit visa to one of the children, and the family is forced to choose who to leave behind, Ah-Liam or San San.This is just the first five chapters of the book — what follows is a page-turning drama of a divided family struggling to be free, both from capture and from their conscience.Chen is a precise writer, with enviable control on the page. Bury What We Cannot Take is completely immersive, and the only times I stepped out of the story was to admire the perfection of her word choice. In one instance she writes: “The heady scent of honeysuckle tickled San San’s nostrils, and her sneeze punctured the silence.” I find Chen’s choice of "puncture," so close to "honeysuckle," to be absolutely enchanting. And here’s another majestic precision: “With her back pressed to the high stone wall lining the street, she crab stepped down the hill.” I’ve been equally pleased watching a puzzle piece fitting accurately into place.
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  • Afoma Umesi
    January 1, 1970
    This is one of those books whose titles grabbed me before anything else. I'm pleased to report that the rest of the book is just as evocative as that title. In Maoist China, twelve year old Ah Liam reports his grandmother for vandalizing a portrait of Chairman Mao and so starts a terrible chain of events. The family attempts to flee China, but in a heartbreaking plot twist, they are can only take one child. The novel follows the consequences of the devastating choice, Seok Koon (the mother) make This is one of those books whose titles grabbed me before anything else. I'm pleased to report that the rest of the book is just as evocative as that title. In Maoist China, twelve year old Ah Liam reports his grandmother for vandalizing a portrait of Chairman Mao and so starts a terrible chain of events. The family attempts to flee China, but in a heartbreaking plot twist, they are can only take one child. The novel follows the consequences of the devastating choice, Seok Koon (the mother) makes.The story is dramatic and despite bearing the burden of multiple intersecting characters and subplots, it remains fast-paced. From a third person POV, Chen shows great mastery of a child's voice and San San's character anchors the story excellently. This sophomore novel lucidly captures the plight of the girl child, Chinese history and heartbreaking betrayal. Utterly mesmerizing from the first sentence, Bury What We Cannot Take paints a portrait of family shaken by a grave mistake, the results of which will linger after the story ends. This is what makes the book spectacular.Kirstin Chen's Bury What We Cannot Take is unsettling, vivid and compulsively readable. Highly recommended.Full review at http://www.afomaumesi.com/2018/03/23/... 
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  • Natalia Sylvester
    January 1, 1970
    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 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 through it.
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  • Shawn Mooney
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Imi
    January 1, 1970
    I'll be reading Chen's debut Soy Sauce for Beginners before this (it's on the tbr soon pile!), but I really enjoyed this article about the author's concern on whether she had the right to write the story she was planning for this, her sophomore novel: Am I Chinese Enough to Tell This Story? - https://lithub.com/am-i-chinese-enoug...
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  • Carrie Nelson
    January 1, 1970
    Set in Maoist China, a young boy, Ah Liam, reports that his grandmother took a hammer to Chairman Mao's portrait because he believes that is the right thing to do. This causes Ah Liam's family to flee to Hong Kong, where his father has been living, but the government will not provide enough visas which results in one of the children being left behind. A harrowing tale about living with the consequences of our choices.
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  • Heidi Perling
    January 1, 1970
    I received this book and a Goodreads giveaway, but I would have loved it even if I had paid for it. It's a fascinating peek into life in China after the communist revolution. I'll be thinking about these characters for a long time... I really liked the way their emotions we're expressed through the descriptions of their physical movements. It was hard to put this one down, and I'm sure I'll revisit it someday.
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  • Ethel Rohan
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • juddy18
    January 1, 1970
    Great book! I received an ARC in advance of interviewing her for a student-run blog and really enjoyed the riveting story!
  • Rachel Rooney
    January 1, 1970
    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 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. My only complaints might be that it was too short and I wished it had delved a little deeper into the characters.
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  • Maggie Boyd
    January 1, 1970
    Our immigration system is a hot topic in the news lately and it seems like personal accounts of success and failure by people who come to this great land are broadcast by our media on a regular basis. Bury What We Cannot Take is a story of immigration which moves the issue to a historical context; it’s a powerful, emotional tale of a family leaving mainland China after it has fallen to the communists and the pain of rebuilding their lives in Hong Kong.Their family had once been large and wealthy Our immigration system is a hot topic in the news lately and it seems like personal accounts of success and failure by people who come to this great land are broadcast by our media on a regular basis. Bury What We Cannot Take is a story of immigration which moves the issue to a historical context; it’s a powerful, emotional tale of a family leaving mainland China after it has fallen to the communists and the pain of rebuilding their lives in Hong Kong.Their family had once been large and wealthy. Now all that remains is Grandmother Bee Kim, her daughter in law Seok Koon and grandchildren, San San who is nine, and Ah Liam who is twelve. Bee Kim’s son, Ah Zhai, is in Hong Kong. He had been working there when the Chinese government became communist and has not seen his family in years, although he is able to write to them. Their apartment is much smaller than what it was before and the neighbors much coarser. The regime change has not worked in their favor.Bee Kim has struggled adapting to the new reality. Her husband, once a factory owner, died as the janitor in that same factory. Her friend recently lost her spouse when his workers rioted and now that friend has committed suicide. Angry and hurting, Bee Kim takes a hammer to the portrait of Chairman Mao which they are forced to have hanging in their home.When San San and Ah Liam discover her with the hammer and shards of glass lying all about her, they swear to keep the event secret. Then Ah Liam is offered a golden opportunity – a chance to join the youth league. It is the first step to becoming a full party member, a recognition of all the hard work Ah Liam has done in school to separate himself from his bourgeois past. To prove his dedication to the cause, he lists his grandmother’s behavior on the form.The family had been quietly making plans to leave China, but the situation becomes urgent when Ah Liam’s confession results in their being scrutinized by the government. Seok Koon heads to the safety bureau to procure visas for passage to Hong Kong but even after bribing the official, receives only three passes: one for herself, one for her mother-in-law and one for a child of her choosing. She chooses Ah Liam. She is heartbroken when she leaves San San behind, but is confident that with the help of her husband she will be able to procure another visa and be reunited with her daughter quickly.It doesn’t quite work out that way.See the rest of my review at https://allaboutromance.com/book-revi...
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  • Victoria Law
    January 1, 1970
    Finished in one night.
  • Atheinne
    January 1, 1970
    Provided only three permits/visas available given to a family of four, which family members would you bring with you to a place far from the rule of communism? Your choices are:A. Your mother-in-law (grandmother of your children)B. Your first child (son)C. Your second child (daughter)In the case of Soo Keon, mother and daughter-in-law, she chose Bee Kim and Ah Liam, believing that within a few days time, little San San would rejoin them on the other side. Unfortunately, the circumstances wouldn' Provided only three permits/visas available given to a family of four, which family members would you bring with you to a place far from the rule of communism? Your choices are:A. Your mother-in-law (grandmother of your children)B. Your first child (son)C. Your second child (daughter)In the case of Soo Keon, mother and daughter-in-law, she chose Bee Kim and Ah Liam, believing that within a few days time, little San San would rejoin them on the other side. Unfortunately, the circumstances wouldn't have it her way.Set in China, Bury What We Cannot Take, by Kirstin Chen, is a story of many things: the struggles of a family, the burden of secrets, forgiveness and letting go of anger, oppression, loss of innocence, and survival.What I liked most about the book is the role of San San and her perseverance. At the age of 9, she is faced with so much challenge that she is left to trust only herself. With her relentless will to be with her family, to be in her mother's arms once again, she made use of her wit to fight through, to live, to survive. Not even hunger can stop her. Her transformation in the story is flawless and that is what I admired the most about her. From riches to rags, this girl just slayed the dragons of life!While I enjoyed most of the book, I found the ending to be slightly off. It felt a bit insufficient in meaning. Other than that, the book is close to being impeccable.This book is admirable and if you're one for historical stories set in Asia, then here's a fitting book for you!
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  • Columbus
    January 1, 1970
    I absolutely devoured the first 60 percent of this tale set in 1957 communist China. A family seeking to flee an islet bordering China to Hong Kong after an unfortunate incident by one of the family members. Only three travel visas are allowed to insure that the family returns back to China. The book was really captivating and the writing rather strong with mentions of communism, Chairman Mao, radicalism etc.... But, then this quite interesting, serious story morphed into a sort of mundane, lit I absolutely devoured the first 60 percent of this tale set in 1957 communist China. A family seeking to flee an islet bordering China to Hong Kong after an unfortunate incident by one of the family members. Only three travel visas are allowed to insure that the family returns back to China. The book was really captivating and the writing rather strong with mentions of communism, Chairman Mao, radicalism etc.... But, then this quite interesting, serious story morphed into a sort of mundane, lite, easy reading selection. There’s nothing wrong with lite, easy reading if that’s what you sign up for and it doesn’t segue into something completely different 60% of the way in. The first half and second half were two divergent visions, or appeared to be. Like the author didn’t quite know what she wanted the book to do.Goodness, and I started out praising this book to everyone who would listen. Guess for now on I’ll wait til I complete the book.
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  • Kate
    January 1, 1970
    I think the book was good and played out some interesting scenarios - if and how and when to get your family out of your home country; family dynamics; sibling gender differences. I totally rounded up the stars because it was refreshing to read a story that was not dependent upon frequent violence against women; or a book that alternates between different time periods; or writing that overly simplifies parenting as a perfect, loving, easy thing; or characters that never change or grow. I also ap I think the book was good and played out some interesting scenarios - if and how and when to get your family out of your home country; family dynamics; sibling gender differences. I totally rounded up the stars because it was refreshing to read a story that was not dependent upon frequent violence against women; or a book that alternates between different time periods; or writing that overly simplifies parenting as a perfect, loving, easy thing; or characters that never change or grow. I also appreciate that this not an unreliable narrator story. I am thrilled that there were not any descriptions of the characters’ boobs or butts.
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  • Jacqueline
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Barbra
    January 1, 1970
    I enjoyed this book and read it very quickly. One impulsive action resulted in a cascade of terrible events. So hard to imagine living in a society within which such a decision is even a thinkable one to make. All involved paid for that decision. It was interesting to read how each person responded.
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  • Wow
    January 1, 1970
    I have to confess that what got my attention was the cover art and the title, otherwise I would've never picked it up as I haven't heard of the author or her other books before.The story is set in the 1950s during Mao's reign in China . It's about the decision of a family to leave a child behind in order to get away , the repercussions of it.The plot centers around sun sun survival and loss of innocence as she ventured into a journey to find her family struggling with the abandonment issues and I have to confess that what got my attention was the cover art and the title, otherwise I would've never picked it up as I haven't heard of the author or her other books before.The story is set in the 1950s during Mao's reign in China . It's about the decision of a family to leave a child behind in order to get away , the repercussions of it.The plot centers around sun sun survival and loss of innocence as she ventured into a journey to find her family struggling with the abandonment issues and guilt throughout the story .While we got to see the perspectives of the family, it was sun sun that kept me reading.This a multiple Pov chapters novel , it was done really well and that feat couldn't have been easy .The writing was beautiful and lyrical , it didn't waste a paragraph in describing the characters plight and the historical setting.I really enjoyed my time with it and o would've given it a 4 star rating , were it not for the ending.The ending was rushed and abrupt and the scene at the end was just mind boggling to me.Overall being someone who didn't have a clue about the time period , I feel happy to know a bit a bout it and that made more interested in reading more books set in Asia at the time.
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  • Sachi Argabright
    January 1, 1970
    This book is devastatingly beautiful. The family we follow is put in a difficult situation that spirals downward, and I continued to wonder what would happen next. It has a serious and heavy tone, but I believe it added more to the story and built larger stakes. I also loved the ending, all the way to the last sentence. I wasn’t sure how this book would end (there were still a lot of loose ends even up to the last hour), but I loved how Chen wrapped this book up. I was surprised about the conclu This book is devastatingly beautiful. The family we follow is put in a difficult situation that spirals downward, and I continued to wonder what would happen next. It has a serious and heavy tone, but I believe it added more to the story and built larger stakes. I also loved the ending, all the way to the last sentence. I wasn’t sure how this book would end (there were still a lot of loose ends even up to the last hour), but I loved how Chen wrapped this book up. I was surprised about the conclusion, but based on the intimate amount of time spent with each character - the final moments make complete sense. Highly, highly recommend!!..P.S. I would also highly recommend the audiobook! Sometimes it’s hard for me to get into audiobooks, but this one sucked me in from the beginning!
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  • enyanyo
    January 1, 1970
    What if a mistake was too grave to live with? What if the guilt wormed its way deep into the flesh and grew more and more potent, devouring tissue and fat and skin, until one day, you looked down and your whole self had been ravaged and nothing remained? This is a painful story, told beautifully. Also, San San is a total badass!
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  • Amanda
    January 1, 1970
    3.75 I really enjoyed this, I would have been 4-4.5 stars but I felt like the ending was abrupt. But overall it was captivating. I felt anger and sadness, I was disgusted at times. If you enjoy family sagas I think you’d enjoy this.
  • Beth
    January 1, 1970
    3.5-4 Torn on rating here. I really enjoyed the story and eagerly awaited to get back into it when I wasn’t reading. It did feel a little rushed at the end and some of plot points were too neat but it’s an interesting look at a family facing impossible choices during Mao’s rule. l’d definitely recommend it to fans of historical fiction and will be looking out for more from the author.
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  • Amy
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 stars, rounding up for storytelling
  • Cathie
    January 1, 1970
    I liked the time frame and the topic, but it's what I call "short sentence" style of writing, which I don't care for. It felt cliched and the ending too pat.
  • Megan Fuller
    January 1, 1970
    What a great book! I live in China now, and the perspective of this novel set 70 years ago helped me understand how far we have come. I take so many things for granted - so many freedoms, people, friends, expectations.... To think of what these little children and mother went through. TO THINK of the father and his heartlessness for his wife was appalling.
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  • Kara
    January 1, 1970
    I raced through Bury What We Cannot Take. At its heart, this is a story about a family. In communist china, a young boy witnesses his grandmother smashing a portrait of the Chairman Mao. The rest of the book follows the consequences of this one interaction, and the unimaginable decisions that must be made in its aftermath. The characters are flawed, but you spend the book wishing the best for them. This book deals with serious questions about family and politics while also being a page turning t I raced through Bury What We Cannot Take. At its heart, this is a story about a family. In communist china, a young boy witnesses his grandmother smashing a portrait of the Chairman Mao. The rest of the book follows the consequences of this one interaction, and the unimaginable decisions that must be made in its aftermath. The characters are flawed, but you spend the book wishing the best for them. This book deals with serious questions about family and politics while also being a page turning thriller. My only complaint is that the book should have been longer. (view spoiler)[I did find the ending a bit rushed. I wish more time had been spent working through some of the drama that occurred in Hong Kong. It felt as if a page limit was hit, and everything was wrapped up within 20 pages or so. If the book had been longer, I would have wanted to know the story of how San San made it to Hong Kong. I also wish we were able to understand more of how her brother felt about the consequences of his decisions. I just wanted more! (hide spoiler)]
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