Nicole's Reviews > The Samurai's Garden

The Samurai's Garden by Gail Tsukiyama
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Feb 19, 2016

it was amazing
bookshelves: favorite, ner, relationships, family, 2012, coming-of-age, china, japan, asian-literature
Read on September 09, 2012

This book is the perfect example of why I love PBT. I am not a huge fan of Asian literature. I have read some books and generally enjoy them, but rarely do I pick one up without a firm push. I am extremely glad that PBT pushed me this month to read the beautifully written The Samurai's Garden.

Stephen is a young, attractive man living and attending college in Hong Kong in the late 1930's when he is diagnosed with tuberculosis. His family decides he must leave his college and home to travel to their summer home in Tarumi, Japan in hopes that the dry climate will help him regain his strength. Stephen finds himself living in a small seaside town with the older caretaker, Matsu, as the second Sino-Japanese War escalates.

Stephan is insulated from the atrocities of the war as he learns to live a quieter life, regains his strength, and finds a second home during his year in Tarumi. He slowly builds a friendship with the reserved Matsu and, as they build trust, learns of Matsu's friendships with Sachi, a beautiful woman who has suffered numerous heardships, and Kenzo, a childhood acquaintance who grew into a lifelong friend despite a hidden secret. As Stephen meets these people and learns of their struggles, he also has a budding relationship with a local woman, Keiko.

This is an amazingly beautiful story. Ms. Tsukiyama deftly builds a story that quietly reveals the past of Matsu, Sachi, and Kenzo. While Stephen is the main character, it is these three people you keep reading to learn more about. The near-overwhelming sadness that has defined their lives and the subtle will power they have to overcome the most insurmountable obstacles. The characters are richly complex and realistic.

This was a lovely read from start to finish and I will not hesitate to read more by Ms. Tsukiyama.
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02/19 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by Erin (new) - added it

Erin What is PBT ?


Nicole Erin wrote: "What is PBT ?"

PBT is the group Play Book Tag on Shelfari. I write all of my reviews for that group and then just copy them here. Sometimes I forget to remove the PBT specific comments!


message 3: by Erin (new) - added it

Erin Thanks, it sounds interesting!


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