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Language of Threads by Tsukiyama, Gail…

Language of Threads by Tsukiyama, Gail [Paperback] (original 1999; edition 2000)

by Gail Tsukiyama (Author)

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6771724,191 (3.91)40
After the Japanese invade China, a woman in the silk trade flees her village, taking along an orphaned "silk sister." The two find refuge in Hong Kong, only to lose everything when World War II breaks out and the Japanese come again.
Title:Language of Threads by Tsukiyama, Gail [Paperback]
Authors:Gail Tsukiyama (Author)
Info:Griffin Sep-21-2000 (2000)
Collections:Your library
Tags:r. 2007, fiction, historical fiction, families, 20th c, history, China

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The Language of Threads by Gail Tsukiyama (1999)



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The Language of Threads by Gail Tsukiyama is the sequel to her Women of the Silk and is a story about Chinese women before, during and after World War II. In this book we follow Pei as she and her young friend Ji Shen arrive in Hong Kong and set out to establish a life for themselves in that busy city. She has some connections with other “silk sisters” and is able to find a job and get Ji Shen enrolled in school, but she gets blamed or something she didn’t do and gets fired. Luckily she meets and begins to work for a British woman, Caroline Finch. Of course life changes again when the Japanese invade and conquer Hong Kong. Mrs. Finch is removed to a concentration camp and Pei and Ji Shen must survive as best they can.

There are plenty of struggles for these women and the author inserts plenty of history as well. Pei is rather a stoic person and keeps her thoughts to herself, she is one who puts her head down and works through stress and drama. Pei does eventually prosper as she establishes a business and is able to begin a search for her sister who is living in Communist China.

The Language of Threads is definitely a sequel and there are many references to places, people, and events from that first book so I would recommend that people start with Women of the Silk. And while I didn’t feel an emotional connection to the story, I was engrossed by the story of women helping other women and in particular, the struggles on one woman to find a place of safety for herself and those she loves. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | Sep 10, 2020 |
The Language of Threads is a beautiful and satisfying sequel to [b:Women of the Silk|51114|Women of the Silk|Gail Tsukiyama|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1316130211s/51114.jpg|49887]. Although this book begins where Women of the Silk ends, it can also stand alone as its own story. You don't necessarily have to read Women of the Silk to appreciate this wonderful story. ( )
  bookishblond | Oct 24, 2018 |
What an interesting and nice book this was.
I have put off reading it for quite some time, I'm not exactly sure why. It may have been the cover, or the mention of 'dramatic story' in the blurp on the back cover.
The book is not dramatic in the sense of 'exaggerated'. It is Pei and Ji Shen's story in all its beauty and ugliness.

The book was interesting, because I had no idea that the Japanese had also invaded and occupied so much of China and Hong Kong. I guess one's never too old to learn :-) ( )
  BoekenTrol71 | Jun 1, 2017 |
good — felt like it was the sequel to something — finishing up loose ends — what happens to other characters

Readers of Women of the Silk never forgot the moving, powerful story of Pei, brought to work in the silk house as a girl, grown into a quiet but determined young woman whose life is subject to cruel twists of fate, including the loss of her closest friend, Lin. Now we finally learn what happened to Pei, as she leaves the silk house for Hong Kong in the 1930s, arriving with a young orphan, Ji Shen, in her care. Her first job, in the home of a wealthy family, ends in disgrace, but soon Pei and Ji Shen find a new life in the home of Mrs. Finch, a British ex-patriate who welcomes them as the daughters she never had. Their idyllic life is interrupted, however, by war, and the Japanese occupation. Pei is once again forced to make her own way, struggling to survive and to keep her extended family alive as well.
  christinejoseph | Jan 5, 2017 |

The Language of Threads – Tsukiyama
4 stars

This sequel to Women of the Silk continues the story of Pei and the orphaned Ji Shen as they flee to Hong Kong in the wake of the Japanese invasion. The story progresses through the Japanese occupation, the Communist take-over and the post war recovery of Hong Kong. As the central character, Pei struggles to support herself and Ji Shen while continuing to grieve for her partner, Lin. One or two other characters from the first story continue in this one. The book ends with the aging Pei returning, full circle, to her origins, in memory, and with a visit to Communist China.

As in the first book, Language of Threads explores the lives of women who are without the protection of traditional family relationships. The “sisterhood” of the silk industry continues to provide support for the refugees in Hong Kong even though the industry itself is gone. In this way Pei and Ji Shen are not without the means to find shelter and employment. Pei is even able to provide the young Ji Shen with the advantage of an education; until the Japanese invasion. Employment includes a brief but fulfilling relationship with the English widow, Mrs. Finch. Mrs. Finch provides Tsukiyama with another outlet to explore the creation of a non-traditional family. Themes of friendship, love and loyalty permeate this book.

Tsukiyama writes in a rather understated manner. I sometimes find myself wanting more detail to support the apparent depth of the relationships between her characters. On the other hand, her characters tend to be people who allow their actions to speak for the depth of their feeling.

I would recommend reading these two books rather closely together. Pei’s growth as a character is tied by many threads to the events of the first book.
( )
  msjudy | May 30, 2016 |
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As I look at the moon my mind goes roaming, till I live again the autumns that I knew long ago. --Saigyo
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Pei glanced down into the dark, glassy water of Hong Kong harbor and suddenly felt shy and wordless.
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After the Japanese invade China, a woman in the silk trade flees her village, taking along an orphaned "silk sister." The two find refuge in Hong Kong, only to lose everything when World War II breaks out and the Japanese come again.

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