This book came highly recommended, but for me it missed the mark. I did like it, but found the monotone of the narrative jarring. The story covers the horrendous atrocities of the Sino-Japanese War, a suicide, the ostracism of lepers out of the village, the breakup of Stephen's parents, the decades-long hidden love of Matsu and Sachi, and the recovery of Stephen from tuberculosis - a lot to issues that all get a calm gloss thrown over them. It seems that maybe surface and the patina of beauty is everything, and undertones, especially unsavoury ones, must remain covered. There are two gardens that figure in the story. They are not at all comparable in any way except for the salve to the spirit that they provide to those receptive to it. Gentleness, beauty, calm are on every page, and for me became somewhat tedious and unrealistic. I am in the minority on this one so bow to the other reviewers who must be much more perceptive and receptive than I.
Gentle book, beautifully written, that perfectly captures the Japanese spirit. Stephen, a young Chinese man with TB, goes to his family's beach house in a small Japanese village to recuperate. The Sino-Japanese war is raging, his parents' marriage is falling apart. The family's longtime Japanese retainer and a mysterious woman who lives in the mountains help Stephen weather the storms.Highly recommmended.
Great quick read.
Lovely, lyrical. It flows at just the right speed. One of my all-time favourites.
Poetic, beautiful; my favorite book by this talented writer.
I love books that entertain while filling one in on history of different places and times. This is one of the best books I have ever read.
Really a fantastic book with rich character development and a great plot.
This is the best book I have ever read!
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