Dreaming Water
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Dreaming Water

3.73 of 5 stars 3.73  ·  rating details  ·  1,362 ratings  ·  176 reviews
Gail Tsukiyama has been praised as a writer with 'wit, grace, and keen insight'* for her bestselling novels. Now, she moves from Asia to America in this stunning contemporary debut. Set in present day California, Dreaming Water is a wrenching portrait of mothers, daughters, and friends. Cate is caring for her daughter Hana who is suffering from Werner's Syndrome, which mak...more
Kindle Edition, 302 pages
Published (first published 2002)
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This book is told in alternating voices: Hana, a 38 year old woman in the advanced stages of Werner’s Disease (premature aging), Hana’s widowed mother who is Hana’s only care-giver and Josie, the 13 year old daughter of Hana’s childhood friend. The book spans 36 hours in the life of these individuals. The premise intrigued me with the potential to explore issues of facing death at the prime of life, the tension between our desire for independence from our parents and the need to accept the care...more
Heather Wilson
I have rarely finished a book and felt as irritated as I did when I finished this one. With such an intriguing premise (a 38-year-old daughter, Hana, who suffers from a disese that makes her age prematurely, lives with her 62-year-old widowed mother, Cate), I expected a beautiful, gripping story. This one was neither.

I have no problem with books light on plot - I love them. However, if there's not much plot, the characters better be interesting. The characters in Dreaming Water are not. They we...more
Dioni (Mee)
Jun 20, 2008 Dioni (Mee) rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who like fluffy and girly books
The first thing popped up in my mind when I got to the last page:
“Gosh, what a boring book.”

I mean I really want to like this book, because it deals with difficult issue, and you thought it would be interesting, but it just… didn’t. It’s boring. The characters are all one-dimensional and full of cliches. And they say cliche things to each other.

So the story goes around Hana, a Japanese American, who is suffering from Werner’s syndrome, a disease that makes a person age at twice the rate of a hea...more
This is probably my favorite Tsukiyama book yet. It deals with the topic of Werner's syndrome, a disease that makes (usually Oriental) people age twice as fast as normal. This story has a mother, widowed by Max, a Japanese American, and their daughter Hana, who is afflicted with the disease. Hana is 38 but looks 80, her organs and arteries are as if they were 80, yet in her head she is still 38 and very self conscious of the physical changes she is ungergoing. The mother-daughter relationship is...more
This is my first Gail Tsukiyama novel. She manages to weave many stories into one story, carefully bringing it all together in one amazing tapestry. She uses refreshing and unique descriptions which are a joy to read. Changing the narrators throughout the story to reflect three very different perspectives on life adds so much texture and depth to the novel. Ms. Tuskiymam ends her novel perfectly, exactly in the right place of the story, leaving the remainder to the reader's imagination.
Bonnie G
This would have made a good short story. Too much time spent on mother mulling over the disease and what life would have been like without it. You can tell this is a first novel, and I like her later ones better.
I enjoy books that discuss real life experiences. Tsukiyama explores one such topic. Werner's syndrome, though rare, makes people age twice as fast as normal. The tale is of a mixed racial couple whose only daughter discovers that she has this disease. She refers to it only as Werner. There are many heart breaking scenes in the novel her parents cope with what life has given them. The author doesn't belittle the reactions of those who don't understand and ridicule young Hana. Inside the aging bo...more
This was a really quick read that I really enjoyed. It was really tender (I don't think it crossed the line to sappy) and made me tear up several times. My only complaint is the ending. I feel robbed, like the book ended mid-story. I fully expected the story to end with Hana's death, but the book just suddenly stops in the middle of a beach outing, and at the beginning of new relationships. Because of this, it seems more like a short story and not a novel. There is absolutely no resolution to an...more
Such a sad story, very moving and touching. i just love the way Gail Tsukiyama write, like her other book I've read "Women of Silk" this book was also very descriptive and emotional. Flipping through the first few pages of this book I've already felt bad for the protagonist Hanna. She is suffering from Werner's Syndrome, which is a disease that makes a person twice as old as they really are and her mother Cate has to take care of her all the time. i found her mother Cate to be a really strong p...more
Doreen Fritz
I had loved *The Samurai's Daughter* by Tsukiyama, so approached this one with relish. But this one didn't measure up. It was okay, but not outstanding. The story was interesting-enough, but felt kind of gimicky. Too extreme and unbelievable. The two central characters are Cate and her 38-year-old daughter Hana. Their husband and father, Max, had died last year, leaving Cate to take care of Hana alone. Hana needs care because she is deteriorating into premature old age due to a disease, Werner's...more
Het boek vertelt het verhaal van Hana en haar moeder Cate, om en om is een hoofdstukje aan een van hen gewijd. Hierdoor krijg je inzicht in hoe de beide vrouwen bepaalde gebeurtenissen beleven, zoals bijvoorbeeld een bezoek aan de huisarts.

Hana lijdt aan het syndroom van Werner, een ziekte die iemand twee keer zo snel doet verouderen als normaal. Op haar achtendertigste ziet ze eruit alsof ze tachtig is. Cate zorgt voor haar. Dat is geen sinecure: zij treurt om de dood van Max, haar man, en moet...more
Katherine Reaume-jackson
What a treasure is Gail Tsukiyama. When I read her stories, I always cheer the lovely character development; I know her characters intimately and want to know them better.She is one author I would love to have lunch with! Gail's story lines and subject matters are brace, human, sometimes raw, compassionate and provocative. This book was a gift of remarkable story again! If you have not read The Samurai's Garden, add it to your list. One of my favorite reads ever.
Good book. one can feel the pain of the family member,specially the daughter.I did not know about the disease ( Werner's). The friendship was there and feelings and love of the friend was always with her.i like to read the book of this author.(gail Tsukiyama). all the books well written and so full of love and changing time in the life.
This is the first Tsukiyama novel that is not set in China and is the last she has written. I sincerely hope this author will pen another novel soon, she has become one of my favourites!

"Hana is suffering from Werner's syndrome, a disease that makes a person age at twice the rate of a healthy individual: at thirty-eight Hana has the appearance of an eighty-year-old. Cate, her mother, is caring for her while struggling with her grief at losing her husband, Max, and with the knowledge that Hana's...more
Kathleen Payne
I LOVED this book. It is a story about Hana and the Werner's disease. It causes her body to age at twice the speed of normal cell aging. The story is so well told and beautifully done. Gail Tsukiyama is an excellent author and this is the 2nd book I have read of of hers! It's a book that as soon as you finish reading it, you are anxious to share it with a friend.
Terri Tinkel
This book was about a sad situation but so filled with love. When Hana was 23, she looked like she was in her 50s. By the time she was in her 40's, she had thinning grey hair, had broken her hip, had ulcers all over her legs and feet and was aging rapidly. She was diagnosed with Werner's syndrome which caused her to age twice as fast as normal. She was still optimistic and tried to live her life as fully as possible. With the love of her devoted mother and her dearest childhood friend, and 2 god...more
Kathy Meyer
I really enjoyed this book about a Mother(Kate)/Daughter(Hana) relationship struggling with the daughter's diagnosis of Werner's Syndrome (an aging disease). Gail Tsukiyama once again brings her Japanese heritage to the story by introducing Hana's Japanese father sent to an American internment camp during WWII. In 1958 he meets Kate and eventually falls in love. Together they deal with the discrimination their inter-racial marraige brings on post war. Eventually they have Hana only to find out o...more
Barbara Shine
I've not been so moved by a book in years. With simple language and graceful syntax, the author renders the power of emotion without artifice, excess, or manipulation. My empathy for her characters was complete. I ended the book feeling I had been touched by literary magic.
This is the first book I've read by Gail Tsukiyama but will be looking to add her other books to my "to-read" list. I thought this one was excellent, it grabbed me right away and I found it hard to put down.

The book only covers a two day period...but we learn so much in those two days! It's the story of a mother's courage, a daughter's strength as they both deal with Werner's Syndrome, which is a disease that makes a person age at twice the rate of a healthy individual; and a friend's love.

The c...more
I remember loving the book. Would like to reread it. I think it's about a young person who has the disease where you grow old very quickly? Better look it up. Might have it mixed up.
Dreaming Water is very realistic and is written from several perspectives. In the story, a tragic disease steals the life of this vibrant beautiful girl and all she is left with is memories and dreams of what could have been. It is touching book on how this girl lives with the knowledge that her time is near and spends the precious time she has with her mother and best friend. I particularly like the strong, accepting character of the girl, Hana and also the happier memories of the past. On the...more
Loved this book. This is the first of Tsukiyama's books that I've read that is set in the US vs. in Asia. In this case, an Italian woman, Cate, married to a Japanese man, whose family had been in an internment camp. The book takes place over the span of 2 days, through many flashbacks, and is about Cate, now widowed, caring for her adult child Hana, who has Werner's disease, a genetic condition that causes rapid premature aging and deterioration. The author writes with such tenderness and insigh...more
Didn't expect to like a book about a medical condition, but the characters were too appealing not to continue reading. Glad I did.
There is a saying that peace is learning to accept what is rather than longing for what we think should be. This book is a beautiful story depicting that reality. Through the story of a young woman with Werner's disease(premature aging)and those surrounding her, we learn the power of love, loyalty, commitment,acceptance,patience,letting go of non-essentials and human bonds that will live into eternity. This is an incredibly powerful story offered in a manner that is just as incredibly gentle. I...more
This book made me cry – in a good way. This was a lovely exploration of the beauty in the relationship between mother and daughter and also of how moving from childhood to adulthood, with all its very real pressures and the constant (in this case pervasive) threat of mortality, somehow smoothes out the rough spots that once caused every interaction to be so darned painful. When the daughter's childhood friend and her daughters enter the narrative, we get a heartbreakingly honest picture of what...more
This book was very meditative on life and death, which at first comes off as kind of depressing. Before I got halfway through the story, I did feel kind of bored, but towards the end the story gets lighter and more hopeful. A gentle read.
After reading this author's The Samurai's Garden, I have been reading her other books one after another. I have to say that this book, while much more sad and emotional for me, is just as good - if not better - than The Samurai's Garden. This book contains the same simple but lyrical language, the same short chapters, and the same rapid pacing. But this book demonstrates an imagination and empathy that is truly remarkable. At times it was hard for me to continue given the sadness of the subject...more
My friend Amy is a big fan of Tsukiyama and this is the first of her books I have read. It was a very quick read, but maybe too short. I really didn't feel like the characters were developed enough. I could feel the relationship between Cate and Hana, but when Laura got in the picture, it just wasn't believable to me. I felt like the relationship with Hana and Laura and her girls was completely rushed. I did like Tsukiymama's writing style, though and will read one of her books in the future. Am...more
Andrea Segura
Loved the story and writing but the ending didn't deliver.
I usually do not like books that are told from multiple points of view but despite that, and the fact that the book takes place only in the span of two days, I was completely drawn in and immersed in Hana's world. It adds just enough memories of the past, a touch of historical fact and real life situations to keep me fascinated. The ending was left open and suggestive enough for the reader to ponder but I did not feel cheated of a good ending in anyway. In fact, it is probably up there on the li...more
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Born to a Chinese mother and a Japanese father in San Francisco, Gail Tsukiyama now lives in El Cerrito, California. Her novels include Women of the Silk (1991), The Samurai's Garden (1995), Night of Many Dreams (1998), The Language of Threads (1999), Dreaming Water (2002), and The Street of a Thousand Blossoms (2007).
More about Gail Tsukiyama...
The Samurai's Garden Women of the Silk The Street of a Thousand Blossoms The Language of Threads A Hundred Flowers

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“Mothers and their children are in a category all their own. There's no bond so strong in the entire world. No love so instantaneous and forgiving.” 123 likes
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