Eri-chan's Reviews > The Pure Land

The Pure Land by Alan Spence
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U 50x66
's review
Jun 04, 2008

it was amazing

Love this. Loved, loved, loved it.

The Pure Land follows the life of Thomas Glover, a Scottish expatriot to Japan in the late 1850s who literally funded a revolution. We are with Glover when he first decides to travel so far from home in a tiny northern Scottish village and seek his fortune in this distant land. We sympathize with him as he stumbles through his early years in Japan, trying to learn the language and the culture and the business he has been hired to work for, all while evading the violent tendencies of the samurai who resent the presence of foreigners in their land. We glory in his triumph as he becomes a successful businessman in his own right and begins to develop personal relationships with those around him, including a series of concubines with whom he tries, again and again, to form a family. We are moved by his efforts to aid Japanese rebels in overthrowing the Shogun and returning the rule of Japan to the Emperor, and feel his pain when he is witness to a major military attack on a village of people he loves, many of whom are lost.

It is a poignant, moving story, one that inspired the musical Miss Saigon and the opera Madame Butterfly. The reader experiences so many of Glover's thoughts and emotions in a very resonant way, and I personally found myself carried away with Glover's adventure as if I were there beside him experiencing it all firsthand.

This is a novel full of magic and realism, buoyant and heartrending all at once, and is a truly fascinating and engrossing read. I will definitely be reading this one again.
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