This was, for me, a book that never fulfilled its promise. I got a sense of reporting: this happened, these people did this, etc., but I never felt enough emotion from any incident in the book to connect with the characters. It felt like I was dropping into their lives in piecemeal fashion, with little to unify one experience with another.
If the author's intention was to show the characters' emotional distance from the very difficult experiences they encountered, she achieved it. Unfortunately, this left me feeling lackluster about everything that occurred.
I added a star for solid writing and a topic -- the situation faced by Japanese expats in Canada after World War II -- that I had never read about previously.
Well developed plot with a bit of intrigue.
Sisterly bonds, best friends and caring for others despite harsh conditions speak to the heart.
While I don't particularly care for standard WWII subject matter, this is original from the point of view of occupied Japan.
Will definitely welcome more writing by Kutsukake!
This is a great story about life in Japan during the American occupation following WW2. In this book a girl from the US who has moved back to Japan with her father, fleeing discrimination in the US, befriends a new classmate whose older sister has gone missing. They decide to find the missing sister themselves after official channels prove ineffective.
A well-written book. However, apart from Aya and Fumi, some of the other characters superficially portrayed. Fumi's sister, Sumiko, was realistic and I enjoyed the girls' search for her.
I enjoyed this book. The theme - post WW11 Japan with the American occupation- - was new to me and I don't think it has been a popular one for fiction writers. It is well written and the characters are sympathetic .
If this is a debut I am excited to see what comes next. You may think this is a simple story (younger sister wants to find younger sister) wrapped in historical fiction (post WWII Japan) but it's more than that. Fumi wants to find her sister so she decides to write General MacArthur to help her. To write a letter in English she befriends Aya, the new Canadian student who has arrived with her father who chose 'return to Japan' instead of never being able to go back to British Columbia again. Why would General MacArthur care about one missing girl among countless others?
There's love involved here but translation of it in more than just the literal sense. That's whether it's between family members, GIs and their Japanese girlfriends, or friends. There are multiple narrative, connecting storylines, and it is wonderful to see them all come together in the way that it does.
I read this in basically one sitting while at the cottage. It was awesome.
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