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The Street of a Thousand Blossoms
Gail Tsukiyama
Adult Fiction TSUKIYA

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From Publishers' Weekly:

In her ambitious sixth novel (Dreaming Water; The Samurai's Garden), Tsukiyama tackles life in Japan before, during and after WWII. The story follows brothers Hiroshi and Kenji Matsumoto through the devastation of war and the hardships of postwar reconstruction. Orphaned when their parents were killed in a boating accident, the boys are raised by their grandparents in Tokyo. In 1939, Hiroshi is 11 and dreams of becoming a sumo champion, and soon Kenji will discover his own passion, to become a master maker of Noh masks. Their grandparents, Yoshio and Fumiko Wada, are vividly rendered; the war years and early postwar years, centered in their home on the street of the novel's title, are powerfully portrayed. Hiroshi and Kenji reach pinnacles of success in their chosen fields as well as in love, and while Tsukiyama's close attention to historical and geographical detail enriches the narrative, she isn't as successful when describing Hiroshi's wrestling career; the matches all begin to blur together. The lingering effects of war, on the other hand, are clear, and these, combined with a nation's search for pride and hope after surrender comprise the novel's oversized heart. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

After a foray into more contemporary fiction, Tsukiyama (Dreaming Water) returns to the historical fiction genre and brings to life another sumptuously written work. Set in Japan and spanning over 25 years (1939-66), the novel unravels the hardships and triumphs of two brothers raised by their loving maternal grandparents following the loss of their parents in a tragic accident. The dreams of older brother Hiroshi of becoming a sumotori (a sumo wrestler) and younger brother Kenji of becoming a Noh theater mask artisan are quelled by the onset of World War II. Passages describing the devastation wrought by the atomic bombings upon their lives and of those close to them, particularly the family of sisters Haru and Aki, who later becomes Hiroshi's wife, are well written and emotionally gripping. Taking readers on an emotional roller-coaster ride, Tsukiyama deftly illustrates the meaning of resilience without shying away from life's lows as limbs are mangled, children are lost, and characters die either in accidents or by their own hand. As in her other novels, Tsukiyama proves to be adept at capturing sensory detail, whether she's creating the world of sumo or of Noh mask making. Essential for Asian American fiction collections in public and academic libraries [See Prepub Alert, LJ 5/15/07].-Shirley N. Quan, Orange Cty. P.L., Santa Ana, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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