China in the 1970s was not a particularly joyous place. At least not for the parents of Gu Shan who begin the day (and the novel) girding themselves for her execution. I decide to read this book because it and the author (Yiyun Li) have been given good reviews. There are substories within the main story - a cast of odd characters including an unfortunate 12 year old girl who when in utero, was the recipient of a brutal beating by Gu Shan (a political dissenter).
The girl is twisted physically, though quite astute. There is a little boy and his pup, a street sweeping couple that rescued discarded girl infants, a radio announcer and her besotted husband. Alas, there is no happy ending for anyone. But it did transport me to a world of deprivation and unfairness that helps put life in better perspective.
I'll give it a B.