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Of Nightingales That Weep
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Of Nightingales That Weep

3.45 of 5 stars 3.45  ·  rating details  ·  522 ratings  ·  56 reviews
The daughter of a samurai never weeps. But Takiko, whose warrior father was killed in battle, finds this a hard rule, especially when her mother remarries a strange and ugly country potter. To get away from her miserable home, Takiko eagerly accepts a position at the imperial Japanese court. There, her beauty and nightingale voice captivate the handsome young warrior, Hide ...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published February 15th 1989 by HarperCollins (first published 1974)
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Teen Historical Fiction
269th out of 846 books — 2,181 voters
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Best Asian Fiction for Children
3rd out of 38 books — 5 voters

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Community Reviews

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This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 16, 2012 Savvy rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: japan
I understand that this book was written in YA's infancy, when it did not know if it wanted to be a more advanced children's section, or a watered down adult section: so this little novella flickers schizophreniacally between both. At times the the descriptions and dialogue will border on juvenile, while at other times it presents ideas and concepts that are even hard for adults like rape and suicide and child murder.

The main character while at times likable in her determination, is usually bland
I don't really know what to make of this book. It's a historical fiction that is set in 12th century feudal Japan and is written by someone who I thought of as a children's author (same author as Bridge To Terabithia). I liked the first half a lot. At some point I got disillusioned with the plot around the shallow love story and was about to dismiss the book as immature when BAM the book took a whole new direction that I definitely did not see coming. I can't really say that the ending left me f ...more
Surprise, surprise, this wasn't as good as Bridge to Terabithia, but it was extremely good. I thought it was a fascinating picture of Old Japan, and it certainly seemed to be well rooted in history (not that I am a scholar of twelfth century Japan). I thought Takiko was intriguing and understandable; she behaved as one would believe she would, trying hard to live up to the code of the samurai, but also being a young woman who thinks and feels like the adolescent she is. I thought the story devel ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
A very deep and moving story about how hardship and circumstances can turn a thing of beauty into something raw--and then into something of beauty once again, in a different aspect.

Also taught me a lot about feudal Japan.

A hard sell for an elem. school kid!
This historical fiction is set in medieval Japan during one of the biggest civil wars in Japanese history. There are two different clans warring for power and control of Japan. Takiko, a young 11 year old girl, is the daughter of a samurai warrior who is revered for his bravery and honor. But when her father is killed in battle, Takiko's mother needs to remarry, and her choice does not please Takiko. Takiko's mother marries a simple man who makes pottery at this home kiln. Takiko moves in with t ...more

Twelfth century Japan proved a dangerous time for people--from peasants in the rice paddies, and potters at their wheel, to members of the Imperial court. More of an adult novel than a typical YA book despite its adolescent heroine, this tale of a samurai's daughter with her emotional and spiritual coming of age is a well-woven tapestry of love, feuds, betrayal and family loyalty. Both the Genji and their mortal enemies, the Heike clan, ravage the island country in t
Megan Nolf
I thought that the more I read this book the better it got. At the beginning I didn't really like the book. I don't think I liked it that much because the words were hard to understand. But the end of the book was very interesting. This book is about a girl who goes though many changes in her young life. So much twisting and turning goes on in her life. She goes from being a daughter of a Sameri to having a step dad that is a potter. She falls in love with a man who likes her for her looks and n ...more
Sometimes I like to go back and read award books from earlier decades. There are some great, forgotten treasures that are worth reading again or for the first time. This is a solid story worth reading together with a child, probably upper elementary and up. The different names get confusing, but really, it just isn't that important to the greater story of love and redemption.
Erin S.
This book is about a Japanese girl who lives in 12th century Japan. Her father was a samurai who died. Life changed for her dramtically. Her luxuries were taken away. Throughout the book she changes as well. She falls in love. She falls out of love. Music becomes a very important thing her life. All these new experiences in the "real world" helped develope her. The book also has a surprising twist that might catch you off guard.

I liked this book but it wasnt as great as i thought it would be. It
Amber the Human
Amazing. So good. I really love this author. This was only her second book, and it's so well written and tugs at your heart strings and you're right there, every step of the way with this girl. You understand her choices, even when she doesn't. SO GOOD!
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This wasn't either good or bad, it was just alright. I liked it well enough until the end when she married her step-dad. And I get it, that wasn't seen as odd back then and there, but that one part certainly took away from the entire book for me.
John Miller
An unheralded work by Katherine Paterson that is a well-done historical fiction that seeks to understand a coming of age story of a samurai's adolescent daughter as she experiences the changing attitudes of differing classes and factions of people within Japan as it grows through simultaneous pains of change.
Often overlooked as a children's book, but the themes are more related to a young adult coming to terms with love and relationship. A fine snapshot into the period of Japanese history in wh
Chelsea C
The story was not all that bad. It isnt something I would usually read though. It was kind of confusing to read because she was constantly changing. Meaning that she was never with the same people, she was constantly with someone different. I do not know how it feels to lose a parent, but for her mom to be pushing someone different on her right away that would be hard at least for me. The book didnt really interest me until like the end of the story. It was not the best ending that could of hap ...more
I read this book in middle school, but the writing and description was so good that I still remember certain pieces of it! It'd be great to read it again.
Morgan Sohl
amazing book one of my favorites from childhood
This is the most boring book and it has the STUPIDEST ending!!!
I might have like this more if it wasn't in the children's section in our library. It was definitely, in my opinion, too disturbing with too many innuendos for kids. Like "Memoirs of a Geisha" (which I loved) but geared to kids?! Takes place in 11th century Japan, and I am sure that all the awful stuff really did happen--women and girls treated like possessions, concubines, rape, young girls marrying their stepfathers--but for some reason I was just yucked out by it in a children's book.
Rebekah Hammond
I would recomend this book for people who like Japanese caulture. Because their is a lot of things that has to do with Japan. This boook was not one of my favorites because i really enjoy reading romance and scarry books. Alough the book does have some romance the ending is not very good. I think this book deservs a better ending.But i guess it wasn't a total waist of time to read. So if you like reading about Japanese Caulture then i recomend this book for you.
Paterson recounts the story of Takiko, the daughter of a samurai, who lived in Japan during a war between clans in 1180. Paterson describes the lifestyles of the three major classes of people: merchants, peasants and nobility.

The story engages the reader and the descriptions reveal a world of beauty and hardship.

The issues and political situation are complicated and require a more experienced reader—even high school would perhaps be best.
In the middle grades I was intrigued by oriental values, and their opinion of beauty. Paleness was peak, and grace was greatly desired in a wife and daughter, and all to bring honor and fruitful life. The poise that many practicing "movement artisians" have enveloped me. And the life of a Samurai was no less fascinating. Very influential read. In a good way.
one of the few books I've read multiple times
This was one of the most profoundly moving books I've ever read. It was one of those "pivotal" ones that I never, ever forgot reading from when I was a young girl (and I think of it often). Not a "feel good" story, so you may want to read first before having your girl/boy read it.
Ok, from a literary perspective, it was excellent. From a personal perspective, I was a little disappointed and maybe slightly disturbed with the ending...definitely not what I was hoping for/expecting. A beautiful book; a story of family, mistakes, and self-discovery and redemption.
It was interesting to read about the events in Japan during this time, and I think it fit their style of writing/plot. It was a bittersweet love story (mostly bitter like dark chocolate); it's not one of those books to read to get warm fuzzies in your tummy. :)
Totally weird book. The first few chapters were easy to follow, but then as it got on, it got more and more confusing. One minute, it would be some place, and the next paragraph would be talking about some battle general's forces. I didn't get it.
This book was about a girl named Takiko. Her father was a samuri, so she lived in royalty. When her father dies, her mom gets married to a villager. Now she has to deal with a new father, a new place, and many new obstacles.
Emily Decobert
I enjoyed this book, though the themes of duty, honor, and implied sex might be a bit much for younger readers. Despite this, it was a good historical book with an twist ending I found very happy yet unexpected.
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From author's website:

People are always asking me questions I don't have answers for. One is, "When did you first know that you wanted to become a writer?" The fact is that I never wanted to be a writer, at least not when I was a child, or even a young woman. Today I want very much to be a writer. But when I was ten, I wanted to be either a movie star or a missionary. When I was twenty, I wanted t
More about Katherine Paterson...
Bridge to Terabithia Jacob Have I Loved The Great Gilly Hopkins Lyddie The Master Puppeteer

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“I have been mocked by beauty, too. But
it was the beauty which cost me nothing
that in the end turned upon me.”
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