Memoirs of a Geisha is one of my all-time favorite novels. A rare 5 star book! So, it was joy to remember reading it and think of this month’s chain of books. I also remembered my feelings of amazement that a man could write a book that was so inside the head of a woman–and a woman in a very different culture. I think this is part of what makes the books so fabulous.
My first three choices also concern Japan in different ways.
The Makioka Sisters, which I have been reading slowly for years, is about Japan at the beginning of its modernization.
Midnight in Broad Daylight is a non-fiction account of a Japanese family divided by war. The children were all born in the U.S.A. but after their father’s death they returned to Hiroshima with their mother. Two returned later to the USA. You can see why the war was a problem. You can read my review here.
The Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet is, first of all, one of the best coming-of-age stories ever written, and second is about the Japenese-American community in Seattle when World War II begins.
While I did not enjoy the style of this author’s writing, she did do an excellent job wiith it. I prefer a more traditional narrative. Both of these books explore the Japanese experience in America. [I am counting these two books as one–both are very short novellas.]
Buddha in the Attic tells the often extremely brutal and traumatic experience of “picture brides” brought from Japan to marry unknown Japanese men in America.
When the Emperor Was Divine tells of the overnight change in status of Japanese-Americans when the War begins. Sent to internment camps and denied their rights as American citizens, this is one of the ugliest events in U.S. history after slavery/Jim Crow and the Trail of Tears.
Finally, two books set in Japan that I just plain loved
I cried over Hachiko and cried a different type of tears over the Professor. Both are such wonderful, wonderful books!
Stop by on Monday when I’ll be reviewing a National Book Award-nominated novel about the Korean experience in Japan….
Would you like to participate in May’s Six Degrees of Separation? Here are the rules.
Read all of this month’s chains here
May’s book will be The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver–another 5 star, life-time favorite of mine.