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The Samurai's Garden (1994)

by Gail Tsukiyama

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1,983577,120 (4.01)100
On the eve of the Second World War, a young Chinese man is sent to his family's summer home in Japan to recover from tuberculosis. He will rest, swim in the salubrious sea and paint in the brilliant shoreside light. It will be quiet and solitary.But he meets four local residents-a beautiful Japanese girl and three older people. What then ensues is a tale that readers will find at once classical yet utterly unique. Young Stephen has his own adventure, but it is the unfolding story of Matsu, Sachi and Kenzo that seizes your attention and will stay with you forever.Gail Tsukiyama has, with lines as clean, simple, telling and dazzling as the best Oriental art, created a small, moving masterpiece.… (more)
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English (56)  Dutch (1)  All languages (57)
Showing 1-5 of 56 (next | show all)
This book contains no Samurai. There is, however, leprosy. And adultery. ( )
  dylkit | Jul 16, 2022 |
Beautiful, graceful, peaceful. A lovely book to read during this pandemic. It covers loneliness, isolation, and lives lost (metaphorically and literally) from the perspective of an ill young man who slowly grows up ever so slightly. ( )
  paulproteus | Jan 2, 2022 |
A beautiful, beautiful book. I loved it. Highly recommended. ( )
  erinclark | Jun 15, 2021 |
The setting and themes of the book are interesting. I felt that the writing was somewhat pedestrian, but I looked at online reviews and see that others had the opposite opinion, so it seems that tastes can really vary.

The book is very evocative of time and place. The plot is spare, and the book centers on three main characters in a quiet setting near the sea. Stephen, is sent by his parents to a family home in a small village in Japan to recover from TB. This happens at the beginning of WWII, so Stephen is concerned about the Japanese invasion of China, and there is a tension between worry about war, and the calm of his life in the village. Stephen develops a close relationship with Matsu, the home's caregiver and gardener, and the Sachi, a friend of Matsu's who has lived in a nearby leprosy community, since developing the disease as a young woman. ( )
  banjo123 | Sep 25, 2020 |
Not bad, but not very memorable. I read this within the last two years but didn't even remember reading it until I saw it on my shelf. Nothing about this book has really stayed with me. ( )
  CatherineMachineGun | Jul 31, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 56 (next | show all)
Tsukiyama's writing is crystalline and delicate, notably in her evocation of time and place. This quiet tale of affection between people whose countries are at war speaks of a humanity that transcends geopolitics.
added by mysterymax | editPublisher's Weekly (Feb 27, 1995)
 
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Epigraph
No one spoke, the host, the guest, the white chrysanthemums.
Dedication
In memory of Thomas Yam
First words
I wanted to find my own way, so this morning I persuaded my father to let me travel alone from his apartment in Kobe to my grandfather's beach house in Tarumi.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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On the eve of the Second World War, a young Chinese man is sent to his family's summer home in Japan to recover from tuberculosis. He will rest, swim in the salubrious sea and paint in the brilliant shoreside light. It will be quiet and solitary.But he meets four local residents-a beautiful Japanese girl and three older people. What then ensues is a tale that readers will find at once classical yet utterly unique. Young Stephen has his own adventure, but it is the unfolding story of Matsu, Sachi and Kenzo that seizes your attention and will stay with you forever.Gail Tsukiyama has, with lines as clean, simple, telling and dazzling as the best Oriental art, created a small, moving masterpiece.

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