Saturday, September 24, 2016

The Japanese Lover

From Goodreads:
In 1939, as Poland falls under the shadow of the Nazis, young Alma Belasco's parents send her away to live in safety with an aunt and uncle in their opulent mansion in San Francisco. There, as the rest of the world goes to war, she encounters Ichimei Fukuda, the quiet and gentle son of the family's Japanese gardener. Unnoticed by those around them, a tender love affair begins to blossom. Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the two are cruelly pulled apart as Ichimei and his family, like thousands of other Japanese Americans are declared enemies and forcibly relocated to internment camps run by the United States government. Throughout their lifetimes, Alma and Ichimei reunite again and again, but theirs is a love that they are forever forced to hide from the world.

Decades later, Alma is nearing the end of her long and eventful life. Irina Bazili, a care worker struggling to come to terms with her own troubled past, meets the elderly woman and her grandson, Seth, at San Francisco's charmingly eccentric Lark House nursing home. As Irina and Seth forge a friendship, they become intrigued by a series of mysterious gifts and letters sent to Alma, eventually learning about Ichimei and this extraordinary secret passion that has endured for nearly seventy years.

From Me:
Wow! What a cast of characters!  And themes!
This is the first Allende novel I've read, and while I liked it--I did!-- there was some issue with me in the transitions from past to present.  Those took place often and sometimes in one paragraph it went from present to past to present again.  I had to really pay attention and think.
The characters were great and while I liked them, I never felt that I got to know them really well.
Deep themes, but some of them just touched on lightly.

Those all sound like criticisms, but I really liked the story. The main story as well as the side stories.
It's worth a read.


Katherine P said...

This does sound good despite the flaws. I've been wanting to read something by Allende for quite some time and I do like the themes in this one. I know my library has this one so I'll have to give it a try.

Literary Feline said...

My first experience with Allende wasn't the best, and I've had my eye on this book for awhile. I am glad you enjoyed it overall, Debbie, even despite the flaws.

Stefanie Ng said...

Glad you had a good read. I'm reading an international author of a light romance/finding-her-groove. It's picked up some so I hope it stays that way.

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