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3.67  ·  Rating details ·  138 ratings  ·  18 reviews
Toyo learned to ask nothing, to wait and count the days. But they passed and passed and still the doorway remained empty of his deep voice, calling out her name. Blending the intimacy of memoir with an artist's vision, Toyo is the story of a remarkable woman, a vivid picture of Japan before and after war, and an unpredictable tale of courage and change in today's Australia ...more
Paperback, 265 pages
Published 2012 by Black Inc
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Average rating 3.67  · 
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 ·  138 ratings  ·  18 reviews

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Jennifer (JC-S)
‘One day, when I am reborn again, I will be able to see you. And I will be so happy, and you will be so happy.’

'Toyo’ is Lily Chan’s third-person memoir of her grandmother, a recreation of her grandmother’s life through stories and experiences shared. Like most lives, Toyo’s life is ordinary in some respects, extraordinary in others. Toyo’s mother, Kayoko, was a fisherman’s daughter from Japan’s Goto islands. Kayoko was sent as a maid to the Takahashi family in China. When Kayoko became pregnant
Esther King
Jul 16, 2020 rated it liked it
Please note this is a 3.5.

This is a fascinating tale of a life well-lived, through the shadow of war and a revolutionary childhood with a mother who decided to go against the grain at the time. The book follows the life of Toyo and her circumstances, from start to finish, and is both a familial love letter as well as an evocative examination of Japan and China in the last century, before taking a rather late turn to Australia. The descriptions are beautiful and truly summon the environments that
Rebecka O'Malley
Aug 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was a fascinating and emotional read.
Nov 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
It must be hard as the author to put together the story of your grandmother. This grandmother is one who lived through a hard childhood and motherhood and then widow. She was always reflected by those around her. But that might be the danger of the memoir remembered by those around the. Entrap character.
✨ Aaron Jeffery ✨
Jun 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wow. Wow wow.
Jul 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Look again at that little old Chinese grandmother walking down the road. Thanks, Lily Chan, for unlocking her amazing story.
Jun 15, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: biographical, 2016
This book offered an interesting insight into wartime Japan and what followed, and particularly touched on Chinese-Japanese citizens and how they were seen as such outsiders. The memoir was written by Toyo's granddaughter and is a recollection from a woman suffering alzheimers which right at the end of the book other family members mention a few discrepancies with how certain events really unfolded, meaning as with all biographical events must be taken with a grain of salt for the truth behind t ...more
Covers the life of the author's mother - starting with her mother's birth in a Japanese fishing village. Toyo' s mother becomes a maid and as part of her job, she has to satisfy her master. Toyo is the result. She grows up in Osaka and eventually marries a Japanese-Chinese merchant. The book covers WWII and its aftermath, Toyo's family, their move to Perth, their involvement in an Indian swami, and Toyo's descent with alzheimers.

Written very simply but with a rhythm that is easy to follow. A tri
Meg Dunley
Aug 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir, literary
A beautifully written story of Lily's grandmother. Lily has written this story of a woman who was caught between worlds of war and races in such a beautiful way. She swirls around with poetic language and style in a way that we are taken into the dance of Toyo's life. There are many unexpected moments throughout. While telling the story of Toyo, Lily also tells us a story of the history of the Chinese Japanese people and the difficulties that they faced. We are also given an insight into lives d ...more
Sharon Lee
Nov 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A delightful insightful playful thoughtful and loving account of lily chans grandmothers life. Like so many women of her generation she worked hard and was fiercely protective of her family to the point of selflessness - a true unsung hero of her era.
Dec 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This book was an incredible read. So powerful and authentic. The authors ability to comprehend the perspectives of her family is beyond me. I was so impressed by this book, the short chapters that capture moments in time that resonate and shape character. An easy 5/5.
Rebecca Edmonds
Apr 10, 2013 rated it liked it
Lily Chan's account of her grandmother, Toyo's life. Fascinating at times such as life in japan during WWII and the treatment of Chinese immingrants in Japan. Some of the later parts of the book recounting Toyo's later life were less interesting to me, but overall an easy and interesting read. ...more
Jan 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Simplistic and captivating, fantastic read
Bethwyn Badger
Apr 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
really 4.5 stars. book review will be on my blog in the next week or so :)
Dec 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I want to read this forever.
May 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned
A wonderful memoir, beautifully written
Teresa Watts
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May 02, 2013
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natasha chen
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May 21, 2017
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Aug 25, 2016
Robbyn Chalk
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Nov 30, 2019
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Aug 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A gentle tribute of a grandmother, painted with love and respect.
Jan Browne
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Sep 13, 2020
Tatiana Lulham
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Dec 27, 2016
Susan Rushworth
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Aug 08, 2013
Grace Sweeney
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Jan 07, 2014
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