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Sinopsis: When Etsuko Sone's sister dies in childbirth in Seattle's shabby Japantown, love for the precocious child catapults Etsuko back across the Pacific and into the austere samurai household of her mysterious mother, Chie, a woman who rejected her at birth. The dubious reconciliation is for the sake of the little Hanae, that she might learn her Fuji heritage and the Zen lessons of humility, dignity, self-discipline, and grace. In Japan, Etsuko is the ultimate outsider: a returning emigrant in a land she left years before; a common woman thrust into a house of secrets and riches; a childless mother and a motherless daughter. As Etsuko and Hanae do their often quite comic best to adapt to life within Chie's samurai household, Japan is changing in dangerous ways. Worldwide economic strife strips Japan's people of food and clothing even as wartime preparations strip them of information and freedoms. Chie and Etsuko greet the mounting militarism with resistance, and when the imperial army cuts cruelly into Chinese Manchuria, accusations of treachery, of antipatriotism, begin to rain on the Fuji household. It is then that the women realise their separate independence is their common bond. It is then that Etsuko finds hidden strength to pursue meaning and beauty in a situation beyond her control.
Review: At first blush, Lydia Minatoya's novel The Strangeness of Beauty would seem to be pretty standard fare: three generations of Japanese women struggle to understand and love one another. Sounds like generic women's fiction, but in Minatoya's hands, it becomes something quietly distinctive. Minatoya has a taste for the in-between. In this, her first novel, mothers are not mothers, Americans are Japanese, and warriors are pacifists.
Etsuko and her sister Naomi move with their respective husbands from Kobe to Seattle in the 1920s. When Naomi dies in childbirth, the widowed Etsuko becomes the baby's surrogate mother. The two return to Japan, where the girl, Hanae, can receive the education in subtleties that is her heritage as a member of a samurai family. The young American girl finds the chores and trials of samurai life enraging. "Take sweeping the garden path with a light bamboo broom: the point isn't just to clear off debris. Designed to develop dedication and spiritual depth, the real task is in repeating the activity--morning and dusk, over and over, for decades--until she learns to leave light, flowing impressions on the soft surface earth."
Just as patiently, Etsuko and Hanae must learn the secrets of their family. There's quite a bit of familial breast-beating, sure, but it's leavened by the perspective of Etsuko, a bumbling, sweet-tempered antiheroine of a narrator. The book comes alive as the two women, trapped in the liminal state of exile, neither American nor Japanese, learn to wrest the best from both worlds. As Japan teeters on the brink of war, Etsuko and Hanae apply their samurai-warrior sense of honor to fighting for peace. Minatoya (author of the acclaimed memoir Talking to High Monks in the Snow) never settles for black or white. She always strives for that more difficult place: the gray area. --Claire Dederer
Condición del libro: Used
Descripción Simon & Schuster, 1999. Estado de conservación: Good. Ships from Reno, NV. Former Library book. Shows some signs of wear, and may have some markings on the inside. Nº de ref. de la librería GRP87793007
Descripción Simon & Schuster, 1999. Estado de conservación: Very Good. Former Library book. Great condition for a used book! Minimal wear. Nº de ref. de la librería GRP71689046
Descripción Simon & Schuster, 1999. Estado de conservación: Good. Former Library book. Shows some signs of wear, and may have some markings on the inside. Nº de ref. de la librería GRP8836604
Descripción Simon & Schuster. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: VERY GOOD. Very Good copy, cover and pages show some wear from reading and storage. Binding may have light creases. Lots of life left in these pages. Nº de ref. de la librería 2713385209
Descripción Simon & Schuster. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: GOOD. Good clean copy with no missing pages might be an ex library copy; Possibly may have minor marginal notes and or highlighting. Nº de ref. de la librería 2721300662
Descripción Simon & Schuster. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: GOOD. book was well loved but cared for. Possible ex-library copy with all the usual markings and stickers. Some light textual notes, highlighting and underling. Nº de ref. de la librería 2775718842
Descripción Simon & Schuster, 1999. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: Very Good. Nice copy with light cover wear. Pages clean with tight binding. Nice dust jacket with mild wear. Nº de ref. de la librería 1706300123
Descripción Simon & Schuster, 1999. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: Good. We have been selling books online for nearly 20 years, so buy with confidence. Every order is shipped the same day or the next day. This is a used book in good condition and may show some signs of use or wear . Nº de ref. de la librería mon0002388096
Descripción Estado de conservación: Good. [ No Hassle 30 Day Returns ][ Ships Daily ] [ Underlining/Highlighting: NONE ] [ Writing: NONE ] [ Edition: reprint ] Publisher: Simon & Schuster Pub Date: 6/11/1999 Binding: Hardcover Pages: 384 reprint edition. Nº de ref. de la librería 4596750
Descripción Estado de conservación: Good. [ No Hassle 30 Day Returns ][ Ships Daily ] [ Underlining/Highlighting: NONE ] [ Writing: NONE ] [ Edition: reprint ] Publisher: Simon & Schuster Pub Date: 6/11/1999 Binding: Hardcover Pages: 384 reprint edition. Nº de ref. de la librería 5489467