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Dreaming Water

3.75  ·  Rating Details ·  1,755 Ratings  ·  227 Reviews
Dreaming Water
Paperback, 288 pages
Published July 1st 2008 by St. Martin's Press (first published 2002)
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Aug 31, 2012 Irene rated it it was ok
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
Pmalcpoet Pat Malcolm
Nov 11, 2014 Pmalcpoet Pat Malcolm rated it it was amazing
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
Heather Wilson
Nov 07, 2011 Heather Wilson rated it it was ok
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
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
Feb 19, 2016 Kate rated it it was amazing
A beautifully written book. Cate and Hana are mother and daughter and Hana is dying of Werner’s Syndrome – a disease that causes premature aging. The story is told primarily from the perspective of these two women and is primarily their story, but about half way through Josephine is introduced. Josephine is Hana’s adolescent god-daughter. Her voice is an intrusion. She interrupts/disrupts the narrative and it is brilliant. It echoes and foreshadows the interruption/disruption that Laura, Josephi ...more
Jun 13, 2016 Betsy rated it really liked it
Once again, I enjoyed a book by Gail Tsukiyama. The author's Japanese roots and her knowledge of the internment of the Japanese during WWII both play a role here as does her familiarity with Northern California. But I wonder whether she has a personal relationship, as well, to Werner's syndrome, which has such a large part in this book. I had never heard of this affliction, which ages a person far too early. It sounds horrible. I found Tsukiyama's description of the disease through one of the ce ...more
Oct 01, 2011 ☮Karen rated it really liked it
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
Aug 24, 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.
Jan 27, 2017 Laura rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A beautiful novel full of heart, heartache, joy, and remembrance. Tsukiyama deftly braids together the stories of Max and his Japanese American parents who lived through most of WWII on an internment camp, his wife and daughter Cate and Hans who suffers from the ravaging effects of Werner's, an early aging disease, and of her childhood friend Laura and her two daughters.
Bonnie G
Feb 01, 2010 Bonnie G rated it liked it
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.
May 27, 2015 Msmith rated it it was ok
A rather sad story that was depressing at times. This was not my favorite book .
Feb 04, 2017 Dorothea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Such a BEAUTIFUL book - those were the words that I said as I finished it. I just adored how the author, Gail Tsukiyama, decribes the story in multiple voices making it so rich and vibrant. I never had heard of Werner's Syndrome and this novel just added such a lovely and loving angle to such a heart-breaking disease.

All of Gail Tsukiyama's books are amazing, but this has to be my favorite. My goodness, it will stay with me for a very long time. Definitely recommend it!
Jan 27, 2017 Becky rated it liked it
As a mother to a daughter I love very much and a friend to a woman I haven't seen in person in years, I could relate to both Cate and Hana. I thought it was written well, the dialogue was a bit unreal but the first-person thoughts were believable.
Doreen Fritz
Oct 21, 2011 Doreen Fritz rated it liked it
Shelves: rb-book-club
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
May 31, 2010 Emily rated it it was amazing
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
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
Kind of an unusual choice of storyline: a young woman in her early thirties has Werner Syndrome and is aging young, and fast, to the heartbreak of her lovely mother. But this unlikely plot carries much authenticity -- hitting the heart -- from the vulnerability of debilitating illness to the difficulty of racial bigotry to the warmth of compassionate friendship. One of my favorite scenes comes towards the end of the book, when Hana is talking, breaking the barriers with Josie, her godchild. She ...more
Mar 19, 2009 Louise rated it it was amazing
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
Teri Theodore
Gail Tsukiyama is one of my favorite authors. This book was of a totally different style than her other books I've read as it was set in America in modern times. It's a story about an interacial couple and their daughter Hana who has Werner's Syndrome. (Werner's is a form of Progeria, except that you don't start the accerlerated aging until puberty vs early childhood.) Each alternating chapter is written by either Hana or her mother Cate. You get to see the same situation through a different per ...more
Oct 14, 2015 Jane rated it liked it
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
Apr 21, 2014 Rusty rated it it was amazing
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
Kathy Meyer
Jul 08, 2009 Kathy Meyer rated it really liked it
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
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
May 06, 2010 Irene rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 50-in-2010, favorites
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
Jan 11, 2011 Charis added it
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
Jan 14, 2015 Jodi rated it liked it
Hana has a disease called Werners Syndrome which by the time she reaches age 20 causes her to age much faster than an average person. She is cared for by her mother Hana who needs to keep up the strength as she watches her daughter's body deteriorate. Enter her best friend from childhood and her daughters who come for a visit and remind both Hana and her mother, Cate, about the importance of living the life you are dealt despite what others might think. The book was told alternatively from each ...more
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
Jul 20, 2013 Sarah rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 21, 2012 Juanita rated it it was ok
The book covers a two day period with Hana (who has Werner's syndrome) and her mother. The book reflects on memories of their relationship prior to her having the diagnosis and up to life in her thirties. This book felt like more of an introduction to Werner's syndrome and I think probably covered just the surface level of the whole experience. I wanted more depth - it often felt like the characters were feeling what they should feel and gave no attention to the possibility of anything further.
May 10, 2014 Shelley rated it really liked it
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
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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.” 152 likes
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