Andrea's Reviews > The Strangeness of Beauty

The Strangeness of Beauty by Lydia Minatoya
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's review
Jun 12, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: bookclub, historical-fiction
Recommended to Andrea by: Rachel

There's a lot of novels about immigrants from Japan, but this one is different in several ways. First, it's not the story of fitting in in America or Japan. It's about Japanese culture, but it's also about family and children and everyday moments of beauty and understanding other people and yourself and pre-WWII Japanese history. Hey, those are some of my favorite things, so it's no wonder I really liked this book.

I'm terrible at understanding subtle meanings in human interaction (sometimes people don't say just what they mean?! Why would they do that?), but I feel like this novel helped me get a little bit better at remembering to look out for that. Sometimes I wish we had more "kata" (or rituals) for doing things; on the other hand, it's fun for everyone to make their own. The 1930's Japanese history was really interesting; we don't hear much about the peace movement, or how the Japanese military gained so much power so quickly. I wish we could have heard more about what happened to everyone after the book ended, but I guess that's part of the point -- life goes on, and doesn't have convenient endings.

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