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A beautiful and unusual story, one that moves and informs. Genuinely likeable characters that invoke pity and sympathy (except Scabby, of course!). Even the seemingly negative characters' motives are explained and understood.
Set against a backdrop of beauty, war and fear, it's a story of love.... The selfishness and selflessness and of how we, and it, are shaped by our conventions
This book is based around Ah Yan, a remarkable woman in various ways, and of her story: set around WWII in China. Alongside this is the stories of three men whose lives overlapped with each other and with Ah Yan.
The book is engaging and interesting, and stands out as being unusual in its story. Global events interweave with personal stories: of horrors, survival, love. As the men recount their stories, intersecting with each other or picking up where the previous one broke off, we hear about the US soldiers stationed in China, about the village culture, about the wartime experiences.
It was a really nice read: well written and interesting. It is less than 300 pages, it felt quite a bit longer as the pages were fairly dense. I don’t mean with long paragraphs, more just that it felt like there was more content than an average 300-page book has. Overall I really enjoyed it.
I found this novel difficult to read at first, but I am pleased I pushed through to understand this very Chinese story. It is a complex plot revolving around one woman and three men across decades. If you are used to reading modern novels which have a linear narrative and plot, you will struggle with this story. But if you stay with it and embrace the Chinese cultufre ancient and modern you will be rewarded with a beautiful story about love and loss.
When looking at the book sample and reviews, I very nearly didn't but this book which was my Prime Choice for September. I am so pleased I did read, 'A Single Swallow,' as this book was beautifully written and engaged my interest throughout. It was almost imperceptible that this work of historical fiction was translated from Chines to English. It was a good read!
I found this book a bit hard going, but I stuck with it and ended up sort of enjoying it. I did find it a bit strange because the narrators are people who have died and met up again in the afterlife to tell their stories. I wouldn't call it a page turner or very exciting, but if you're looking for something different to read, this might suit.
A very moving story beautifully written and translated with an unusual story structure. This made it difficult to read initially, but as the characters were introduced through their individual chapters, I became more engaged in the narrative and the characters themselves. I eagerly read the second half of the book to discover Ah Yan's fate.
Admittedly I nearly gave up on this book in the early stages as I found it a bit dry and ponderous but I was glad that I stuck with it because as the story slowly unfolded I became more and more invested in it. Would I read it again? Probably not, which is why I haven't given it 5 stars, but in the end I didn't consider it a waste of my time.
This is a lovely story about three men, a priest, an American soldier and a local Chinese rebel whose lives become intertwined by their love of one woman, the single swallow. It has the background of the Second World War and how it affected one Chinese community. It shows the cruelty of the Japanese as they invaded this community and how these people coped with the hardship and loss which followed.
I found this book to portray the horrors of war but also to be about friendship , hardship resilience pride and love. It’s not normally the kind of book I would normally read but found it inspiring and hard to put down . I would recommend to those who like historic fiction.
Not the story I expected and it took me a while to get into it, the characters interlink through war and beyond, you feel the emotion of all the characters, I found it quite a sad story but with periods of hope and resilience