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Dreaming Water

3.73  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,614 Ratings  ·  201 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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(showing 1-30 of 2,746)
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Aug 31, 2012 Irene rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Dioni (Bookie Mee)
Jun 20, 2008 Dioni (Bookie Mee) rated it it was ok  ·  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
Aug 13, 2012 ☮Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Pmalcpoet Pat Malcolm
A stunning book. A little gem. Gail Tsukiyama presents the characters in simple, straight-forward fashion, bringing out their personalities in a very natural way that emphasizes their humanity above all else. While the book initially seems to be about the rare genetic disorder Werner's syndrome, that proves merely to be the catalyst for the real plot. What risked being maudlin and formulaic emerges as enlightening and transformative, even comforting as we face our own humanity and its inevitable ...more
Jun 04, 2015 Msmith rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A rather sad story that was depressing at times. This was not my favorite book .
Aug 25, 2009 Michelle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Oct 14, 2015 Jane rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
After "The Light of the World" this book felt somewhat thin to me. The subject was beautiful. A young girl whose family discovers when she is thirteen that she has Werner's Syndrome. It means she will never fully grow and that her body will age quickly and dramatically. I had read Tsukiyama's book, "The Samurai's Garden," and loved it. Michael Chabon and Jane Hamilton both reviewed it and felt that it was beautiful, that Tsukiyama's interest lies in outsiders, subcultures, those who are differen ...more
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.
Apr 27, 2014 Rusty rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 30, 2015 Rebecca rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A very interesting beginning and middle to this book and on a little known medical condition. It also lends some understanding to how 2nd generation Japanese Americans felt about the internment camps their parents were children in.

Overall I did enjoy this book but I gave it a lower rating than the other 3 books I read from this author because it seemed the ending was just cutoff and left hanging. This is just my opinion but I felt the ending was rushed and confusing.

Still this author is excell
May 11, 2014 Shelley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 06, 2010 Emily rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Ann Gallo
Nov 10, 2015 Ann Gallo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This author certainly facing the world's issues - learned about the medical condition called Werner's syndrome, tragic, speeding aging of the body. Great story of mother and daughter relationships - father's too while he was live. They handled it so well. Mixed marriage of Japanese- American and Italian American and the prejudices and war interment camp. Of course, anything taking place in Northern California has a head start in my heart. Enjoyed this story.
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.
Jul 29, 2015 Kathie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This story explores the relationship unique between mother and daughter, and also the progression of Werner Syndrome on the beloved daughter. There's also an historical element with the continual references to the father's experience as a Japanese American in an internment camp during WWII. This is a sad, emotional, and sometimes wrenching story. Tsukiyama writes with sensitivity and insight. I was truly moved by this book!
Sep 10, 2014 Kathryn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, 2014
This story touched my heart in a way that a story has not done for a long time. It's beautifully written and flows so smoothly. The story is of Cate, the mother and wife, who is caring for her daughter Hana who is in the last stages of Werner's Syndrome. The love Cate has for her recently deceased husband and her daughter gripped my heart. Each chapter is from a perspective of three characters Cate, Hanna and Hanna's god daughter Josephine. Thank you Goodreads friends for our sharing with each o ...more
May 05, 2014 Sheela rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Apr 10, 2009 Louise rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
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
Kathleen Payne
Mar 11, 2014 Kathleen Payne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jan 17, 2015 Rachel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ms. Tsukiyama is a wonderful writer. I loved some of her other books. This book however while well written and excellent characters I found the Zen message a little to obvious. I wish she had let the reader find the message themselves. I did enjoy it but it is not her best.
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
Jul 11, 2009 Kathy Meyer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Diana Lynn
This book was pretty plain Jane. It was interesting but it lacked a bit of excitement/plot twist. The story is told through the lens of Hana, Cate and Josephine. Most of it focuses on Hana--a 38 year old with Werner's disease. Other than that there isn't much to the story.
Barbara Shine
Feb 04, 2014 Barbara Shine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Pat Bretheim
Dec 07, 2015 Pat Bretheim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was okay if you are in a reflective mood. It doesn't exactly have a plot. It is more of a "slice of life" book to describe one woman's life and how she deals with the obstacles in it.
Jan 24, 2010 Debbie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 05, 2014 Hattie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
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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).
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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.” 143 likes
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