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The Samurai's garden
Gail Tsukiyama
Adult Fiction TSUKIYAMA

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From Publishers' Weekly:

In this beautifully crafted second novel by Tsukiyama (Women of the Silk), the world outside the small Japanese village of Tarumi is a world of polarities: East vs. West, Japanese vs. Chinese, etc. Within Tarumi, however, a person can exist as simply as a polished stone in a garden. When Chinese university student Stephen Chan's tuberculosis pushes him to the thin border of death, his father sends him from their home in Hong Kong to the family's beach house in Tarumi. The year is 1937, and the Japanese Imperial Army is on a steamrolling conquest through China. In idyllic Tarumi, however, Stephen swims, paints and grows healthier, meanwhile befriending Matsu, the caretaker of the house. Strong, silent Matsu is the epitome of the samurai, displaying his aristocratic heritage in the tender way that he cares for his exquisite garden. The storm that demolishes years of work is a counterpart to the grief that washes over Matsu when he thinks of his beloved, Sachi, who is a leper. Becoming engrossed in the lovers' tragic story, Stephen stays on in Tarumi, aware that by doing so he is avoiding a confrontation with his own father, who has confessed to an affair that will break up the family. Tsukiyama's writing is crystalline and delicate, notably in her evocation of time and place. This quiet tale of affection between people whose countries are at war speaks of a humanity that transcends geopolitics. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Seventeen-year-old Stephen leaves his home in Hong Kong just as the Japanese are poised to invade China. He is sent to Tarumi, a small village in Japan, to recuperate from tuberculosis. His developing friendship with three adults and a young woman his own age brings him to the beginnings of wisdom about love, honor, and loss. Given the potentially interesting subplot (the story of a love triangle doomed by the outbreak of leprosy in the village) and the fascinating period in which the book is set, this second novel by the author of Women of the Silk (St. Martin's, 1991) has the potential to be a winner. Unfortunately, it is sunk by a flat, dull prose style, one-dimensional characters who fail to engage the reader's interest, and the author's tendency to tell rather than show. Libraries with comprehensive fiction collections might consider, but others can pass.-Nancy Pearl, Washington Ctr. for the Book, Seattle (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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more titles about

main characters Stephen Chan
Male
Age: 20
Chinese
Recovering from tuberculosis.
Painter

Matsu
Male
Japanese
Housekeeper

Sachi
Female
Age: 20s
Japanese

Kenzo
Male
Japanese



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