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The Japanese Lover

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3.43  ·  Rating Details ·  612 Ratings  ·  66 Reviews
Parvathi leaves her native Ceylon for Malaya and an arranged marriage to a wealthy businessman. But her father has cheated, supplying a different girl's photograph, and Kasu Marimuthu, furious, threatens to send her home in disgrace. Gradually husband and wife reach an accommodation, and the naïve young girl learns to assume the air of sophisticated mistress of a luxurious ...more
Hardcover, 323 pages
Published 2010 by Hodder & Stoughton
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(showing 1-30)
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Boof
I am actually struggling with finding a way to review this book as, even after turning the last page, I’m still not entirely sure what it’s about. It felt, to me, like the book wanted to be a sprawling, epic book about a woman who was married off for money in Malaysia and set over nearly 100 years, but here it really falls short: there wasn’t enough depth there and I still feel, in a way, that I don’t know the characters well enough. I can’t quite decide whether it was mean to be a family saga, ...more
Sara Jesus
Jul 29, 2016 Sara Jesus rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, romance
Este é um romance envolvente repleto de magia, mitos e que relata a história de um amor incondicional. Aborda a História da Malásia. Com personagens envolventes que nos marcam no coração.
Ciscananda
Por fiiiiin lo acabé. Fue un desafío, honestly. Estuve a punto de abandonarlo como cuatro veces.

Bueno, siento la obligación de (tratar de) explicar por qué lo odié tanto.

En primer lugar, la protagonista. ¡Ah! Parvathi era, sencillamente, insoportable. Creo que no me habría molestado tanto su presencia de no ser porque un par de veces la autora trata de convencerte de que su personalidad es como una pantera del desierto (o algo así), que era astuta, calculadora y... En fin, que tenía el tipo de
...more
Tocotin
Wow, this was one of the most confusing books ever, and not in a good way. I'm not really sure what it was about. A poor girl from a small village in India becomes the wife of a Malay millionaire in the beginning of the 20th century, then witnesses all the political & historical & cultural changes... except she doesn't.

All the characters speak in the same highfalutin style, and the wise woman Maya spouts prophecies about "media" and "globalization" (in the 1920s, mind). The main characte
...more
Anne
Aug 14, 2010 Anne rated it liked it
The blurb on the cover of this one makes it sound like soft porn - all that love with complete abandon and experiencing sexual ecstasy... Actually, it's a really good read, if a little surface-level on some of the heavier issues - Parvathi's an endearing character and there's plenty of interesting back story extending from Ceylon in 1916, into Malaysia through the Japanese invasion and into the 80s. Some nice mystical touches too - just a bit of a shame the Japanese lover wasn't as well drawn as ...more
Jeanne
Aug 13, 2016 Jeanne rated it liked it
The Japanese Lover is the second book by this name that I've read this year (this by Rani Manicka, the other by Isabel Allende). What is it with Japanese lovers?

Both books are set during WWII (one in the US, the other in Malaysia), so explore issues of privilege, oppression, and racism. Interestingly, in Manicka's book, the Japanese lover is in a privileged position relative to the Malays. In Allende's book, he was interned in a concentration camp; his upper class white lover is unwilling to ri
...more
Smitha
Nov 16, 2012 Smitha rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Parvathi, a young girl in Ceylon is married off to a rich landlord in Malaya, by her unscrupulous father, by showing the marriage broker some other girl’s picture. This also fulfilled the prophesy when she was born. Parvathi’s husband is annoyed at the cheating, and asks her to get ready to go back to her village. For some reasons, her husband(Marimuthu) lets her stay on with him. She stays there, but not as a much loved wife, but more as a person who is just about tolerated to be allowed to ...more
Ainur
This is a story about a young woman wanting to find love. Being sent to Malaya during 1916 from Ceylon, Parvathi then married Kasu Marimuthu, a man a decade of her age. Experiencing the new cultures, Parvathi learned to adapt to her new surrounding. It is really interesting reading about Malaya's people during that time, which bit by bit already had British influence in it. The Japanese invasion started in the middle of the story. This was when Parvathi started to fall for the enemy and having a ...more
Baljit
Nov 29, 2010 Baljit rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Having read Manicka's Rice Mother some years back, and being completely blown over that novel, I had rather great expectations for this novel. initially is seemed to have a parallel setting, young village girl from Sri Lanka sails across to Malaya due to an arranged marriage. The characters of Parvathi's husband, Maya and Kupu were well thought out and held attention. However i was v disspaointed the writer romanticised the whole scene of the occupation by the Japanese army and her affair with ...more
Maria Ana
É um pouco difícil encontrar algo a dizer sobre esta leitura.

O livro chamou-me à atenção e a sua história parecia promissora, no entanto fiquei um pouco desiludida. Esperava uma narrativa com um fio condutor organizado, mas tal não aconteceu. Por vezes, a narrativa saltava para acontecimentos precipitados e desconexos dos mencionados anteriormente, o que me deixava confusa, e um pouco desmotivada.

Descrevo a história como um pouco surreal e mística. Para além da narrativa se iniciar com um nascim
...more
Claudia
Sep 03, 2015 Claudia rated it did not like it
Mientras más lo pienso, menos me gusta este libro. La escasa empatía que hacen que el lector desarrolle por la protagonista al inicio, luego es eliminada mediante una narración acelerada en la segunda parte del libro y las actitudes despreocupadas e irritantes de casi todos los personajes.
Una 'heroína' que se vuelve egoísta; humana, sí; ¿justificable? no. Una sirvienta/curandera que da el toque de sabiduría y teológico, y añade más confusión al tema del libro (¿romance?, ¿histórico?, ¿espiritual
...more
Antoaneta Mitrusheva
Тази книга за мен бе абсолютно разочарование след "Оризовата майка". Ако не знаеш кой е авторът, трудно можеш да повярваш, че двете книги са писани от един и същ човек. Не си губете времето.
Shamalah
Loved it. Loved the pre WWII part especially. Being. Malaysian Indian myself, i can totally related to this book.
The ending seemed a little rushed if I may say.
Sharon Jong
Aug 01, 2012 Sharon Jong rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rani Manicka never failed to impress me. Her story plot based on Asian background was what I find interesting.
Maha
Jan 16, 2015 Maha rated it really liked it
just so nice!!!!
Lisa Galet klug
Dec 17, 2012 Lisa Galet klug rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An amazingly easy to read story with powerful images.
Eleanor
Apr 12, 2014 Eleanor rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Pam
Nov 18, 2016 Pam rated it it was ok
Bitty book recommended by Viv. Readable but a bit disjointed. Could not recommend
Sarah Syahirah
I had read Rani Manicka's previous work;'The Rice Mother' and I had cherished every moment spent reading each sentence in the novel. The book had brought deep impact on me emotionally, particularly when reading about the horrific events that occurred during the Japanese Occupation. It is no wonder that 'The Rice Mother' won 2003 Commonwealth Writers' Prize.

Since then, I was looking forward to read her next works. Almost 3 years after reading 'The Rice Mother', I came across this book (though it
...more
Célia Loureiro
Um retrato delicioso do Ceilão no início do séc. XX, e que beleza de tradições... a cada vez que pego no livro sinto-me invadida pelas fragrâncias do oriente. É daqueles livros que cria um ambiente acolhedor, colorido, perfumado, misterioso, para o qual queremos voltar a refugiar-nos a cada minutinho livre. Agora que o terminei, lamento o facto de a personagem principal, Parvathi, ser uma vitima voluntária. Estava constantemente a ser enganada e traída pela família, e aceitava-o com tal ...more
M.L. Sparrow
Dec 23, 2015 M.L. Sparrow rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book, though it wasn't what I was expecting - the title implies that it's a romantic book, but to be honest there is actually very little romance and even when Parvathi fancies herself in love with the Japanese General it a twisted kind of love. However, though it was different than I'd thought, I still liked it; it's an easy read and I liked the way myth and religion are interwoven with reality.

I didn't feel particually connected to any of the characters, even Parvathi, b
...more
Sally Tarbox
Jul 31, 2015 Sally Tarbox rated it it was ok
Shelves: couldnt-finish
Malayan chick-lit, 31 July 2015

This review is from: The Japanese Lover (Paperback)
This started off hopefully: a poor young Ceylonese girl, Parvathi, is listening to her marriage being arranged between her father and a broker - on behalf of a wealthy Malayan man. But her father has supplied a photograph of another, more beautiful, girl, thus incurring the groom's anger when first meeting his bride. So far so good.
But as Parathi spends her first few days on the estate, her future uncertain (will
...more
Джорджия
Feb 02, 2016 Джорджия rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Джорджия by: Тихомира
Няма да се оплаквам от книгата. По-скоро ми хареса, отколкото да не ми е харесала. Силният образ в книгата не е главната героиня Парвати, която много лесно и безропотно сменяше имената си в книгата, но тя и точно такава си беше през цялата книга - тиха, безропотна. Имаше опит да се демонстрира, че не е точно такава, наблягайки на някакъв вътрешен свят и сила, но този образ не беше развит, така че това да излезе наяве.
В книгата обаче не липсваха достатъчно силни и обаятелни образи, каквито за ме
...more
Naheed Hassan
This could have been such a fascinating book had it stuck to its original story. At Parvathi's birth a priest predicts that she is fated to marry an immensely wealthy man but that her marriage will be a disaster, however she will find love outside her marriage. Holding on to hope of riches, her father decides that no matter what, he will ensure that the prediction comes true. Parvathi travels across the sea to Malaysia to be married to Kasu Marimuthu, a fabulously rich man. And in her future ...more
Nicia Misha
Finally. A book that has been sitting on my bookshelf has been opened and read after two years.

I kinda knew that I wouldn't enjoy the book but I still gave it a try.

The plot was inconsistent and scattered and I felt like it had no direction. Too much information was given out and wasn't necessarily needed. We spent a couple of hundred pages before the actual romance happened. Coming from the title, I have expected that the involvement of the Japanese general would have happened sooner in the s
...more
Cheryl
Oct 17, 2012 Cheryl rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: rani-manicka
Honestly, I'm not entirely sure how to write a review of this book. I'm a great fan of stories with World War II setting and when I heard of this book from a speaker of a talk that i attended, I immediately went over to bookstore to grab it. Perhaps it's due to the high expectation that I was a little disappointed with the development of the story. Personally, I feel that this book could be better if the writer did not forcefully include too many things into the plot. Perhaps she has spent too ...more
Сања
Feb 24, 2013 Сања rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Секој крај е само нов почеток."
Книгава земав да ја читам по препорака и морам да признаам дека покрај скептицизмот од моја страна наидов на прекрасно дело кое не го испуштив од рака додека не ја завршив и последната страна.

"Мораш да го слушнеш во срцето, или засекогаш да се оддалечиш од него. На овој свет на пропаѓања, ништо не може да трае. Дури и камењата се дробат во прав. Се се менува. Вештината е во тоа сосема да му се препуштиш на мигот,да го живееш, а кога ќе помине, воопшто да не жалиш
...more
Sunflower
This would have been a four star book for me, except for the last 50 or so pages. The story is finished, but Manicka carries on- even introduces a new character- and the book becomes more of a dynasty story. I thought it was at its best when concentrating on Parvathi's life, and its connections with the mysterious Kupu and the wise and gifted servant Maya. The recurring symbols of cobra and peacocks,along with the blending of Indian, Malay and Japanese culture disappear in the pragmatics of ...more
Doron Yam
Jan 08, 2011 Doron Yam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: modern-classics
One of the things that are great in novels is that they are taking you to places and times you dont know or not aware of. I had no idea about the times in Malazia under the british occupation, under the japanese occupation and under the chinese occupation. The novel is not about the history of Malasia but it runs through its history well through the hero's eyes and life story. It is a story about love and the need to love in rough times and in good times. It is a story about life and death and ...more
Tatiana Nicholls
Sep 05, 2015 Tatiana Nicholls rated it did not like it
I have to say that it's being long time since I drop reading. I began to read this book with big expectations since the author is a really recognized woman. I have read anything of her before and I still wants to try another book. But the Japanese lover was a story that never got my attention. I tried hard to be involved. I carried the book all the way to my trip to Japan. I tried and at the end I put aside buy it was so boring. Not history, not love, not deepness in any aspect. Didn't like at ...more
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Rani Manicka, an economics graduate, was born and educated in Malaysia and divides her time between Malaysia and England. Her first novel 'The Rice Mother'Infused with her own Sri Lankan family history is a vivid imaginative story about the frailties of human nature and the consequences of war. It won a Commonwealth Writers Prize in 2003.

She has published a further two novels,'Touching Earth'in 2
...more
More about Rani Manicka...

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“Cada uno de nosotros ha venido a la tierra con varias piezas de un puzle tan grande como el universo. Cada vez que conocemos a alguien, se las enseñamos de manera inconsciente para ver si las de esa persona encajan con las nuestras. Si no encajan, cada uno sigue su camino y no hay nada que hacer. Ay, pero si encajan... Ahí es donde empiezan la atracción, el odio, los celos, el amor, el dolor y el
aprendizaje.”
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“Todo cambia. El truco está en entregarse por completo, vivir el momento y, cuando haya pasado, no tener de qué arrepentirse ni volver la vista
atrás. Ser consciente de que pasará y no sufrir por ello. Que sea lo que tenga que ser.”
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