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The Teahouse of the August Moon by Vern…

The Teahouse of the August Moon (1951)

by Vern Sneider

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824147,013 (3.86)14



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This is a mildly diverting, gently satiric novel set during the American occupation of Okinawa following World War II. Hapless Captain Fisby is in charge of rebuilding the village of Tobiki, in compliance with "Plan B", the brainchild of by-the-book Colonel Wainright Purdy III (and, to be truthful, his wife back in the States). Purdy and Fisby are both clueless about the culture, nature and inclinations of the native population, officially referred to as "enemy civilians". What ensues is an endless sitcom of the Sgt. Bilko/McHale's Navy/M.A.S.H variety, with less creativity and hilarity than the latter, but more wisdom and insight than either of the former. At first there was a suggestion of paternalism that made me very uncomfortable, and I nearly Pearl-ruled the book. As I continued reading, however, it became clear that the objectionable attitudes were those of the ignorant or superior-feeling characters, not of the author. Captain Fisby comes to rely on his interpreter, Sakini, not only to communicate with the villagers, but to understand them culturally and individually. The end result is a new village, influenced by Western thinking to be sure, but addressing the needs and desires of the local people in ways both traditional and innovative. This novel is neither profound nor particularly subtle, but I think it's better than its light tone suggests. ( )
1 vote laytonwoman3rd | Jun 23, 2013 |
Much better and funnier than the movie. ( )
  OldEnough | Jul 6, 2011 |
Fun read. Having seen the movie first it was hard not to see Glenn Ford or Marlon Brando in my minds eye. ( )
  AdorableArlene | Nov 4, 2007 |
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