1947 heralds in turbulent times for the Tsai family. As Taiwan's Japanese colonial rule is replaced by martial law, the family welcome the arrival of their newest member, a daughter, only to have her father imprisoned for his political views. In the decades that follow, as the country progresses towards democracy, they must all endure as best as they can, weighing up on a daily basis the betrayals and loyalties necessary for survival.
Encompassing the actual events of the time, this is a compelling story of a Taiwanese family negotiating the complex political forces of history.
Very interesting read. Learnt so much about Taiwan's recent history. Good characters.
Highly recommended by every member of our book group. This is a well-written fictional family story based on the very real history of Taiwan under a mid-20th century brutal Kuomintang regime. We all realised that we didn't really know anything about modern Taiwan except the myth of Mao, the bad guy versus Chang Kai Shek, the defeated but good guy. Compelling reading both in terms of the family story and the history unfolding. Particularly pertinent as Taiwan deals today with the continuing battle: will this island country belong to the Taiwanese, the Chinese Taiwanese or Mainland China
Our group was moved and horrified by the revelations of Taiwan's recent past in the book 'Green Island' by Shawna Yang Ryan. An exceptionally insightful and chilling account of the horrors of falling foul of a totalitarian regime.
A very telling insight into Taiwan in recent history as experienced by a family. Everyone wanted to finish the book as it was a good read; the second half better than the first.
This book is outstanding. Plot, characters and writing are intriguing and memorable. The historical back ground, while complex for those who didn't know much about Taiwan, was so well brought to life. Thought-provoking regarding moral dilemmas, and the consequences of choice and compromises.
An intense read - a lot of history to learn, and an in depth discussion. Very thought provoking.
Enjoyed by all. Great book.
Most of our group enjoyed this book. The author cleverly interweaved the complex political history of the several regimes which have ruled in Taiwan, within a family history which demonstrated the impact of these regimes on the lives of the inhabitants.
A very grim book. Not everyone finished it with most saying they kept going because it was a Book Group book. We learned quite a lot that we didn't know before...
This book showed all of us how much we did not know of the country of Taiwan, and how its intelligence service even works abroad.
Well-written and researched. Challenging read, topical for current international events.
Most appreciated this book and learnt a lot from it. Some parts were difficult to read but worth it. Definitely recommended.
The group enjoyed the book. None of us knew a lot about this event. Some found the book hard to read because of the violence.
This was a beautifully written story told at many levels of the effects of national and personal events. Some personal events were so powerfully expressed it was like witnessing them first hand. None of the group was well informed about Taiwan, so the history was valuable also. The whole group thought it was an excellent choice.
We didn't know about the history of Taiwan. What a history lesson for us! We were so glad we read this book. The violence was hard to read, but such wonderful prose. We were all drawn in. This book will stay with us.
A fascinating story, gripping and wonderfully told. Not 'enjoyable ' perhaps but educational. Every word needed to be read - the descriptions of everything were illuminating. (No skipping of any paragraphs). Amazing how the ending is prescient of today with Covid-19, and the riots in Hong Kong. Highly recommended.
Ratings varied from 2 to 5. Most agreed that the book was disjointed. Several members had almost given up and then picked the book up again and found they became engaged in the second half. We felt that the brutality of the first half of the book was almost too much to bear during the current world situation, and the reference to SARS - 1 at the end of the book was timely. Overall not a book we would recommend.
A wonderful book. We knew nothing about Taiwan when we started reading. It encouraged us all to go searching the internet for more historical notes.
We thought that this book had a lot going for it in that it increased our knowledge of events in Taiwan post WW2. However we found it quite a grim read, and the majority felt that although the characters were written with compassion, it was hard to connect with them.
A bit disjointed, however a good explanation between the Republic of China and the People's Republic of China. Historically interesting.
We found this book enlightening, as our knowledge of Taiwan was limited. The cruelty at the beginning of the story is horrifying, though the tale is gripping and very well told. An excellent read.
Good discussion on the history of Taiwan and the surveillance of people (Taiwanese) in the U.S which is becoming more and more relevant.