Ann's Reviews > The Teahouse Fire

The Teahouse Fire by Ellis Avery
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's review
Jan 12, 2009

really liked it
Read in January, 2009

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and find the complaints about it silly. Yes it is long and detailed. But that was the beauty of it. Until the 1850's, Japan was a closed society and few foreigners were allowed to enter. When Aurelia is found by the Shin family, they can't even identify her and don't know how to classify her. So they make her a maid and sometimes treat her as a member of the family.

Many years ago, I went to an exhibit of Yokohama wood-block prints from that era. Foreigners were drawn with big noses and strange outfits, snow was painted green and animals were often unidentifiable.

I thought Ellis Avery did an amazing job telling the story from multiple points of view as the family tried to deal with a changing world. In about 100 years, Japan changed from a rigid, insular nation to one of the most progressive in the world. It is a story that needs to be told and I think Avery did an admirable job of it.
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10/22/2016 marked as: read

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