Sunday, April 03, 2016

Book Review: The Japanese Lover by Isabel Allende

Genre:Historical Fiction
Published by:Atria Books
Publication date:11/3/2015


From New York Times and internationally bestselling author Isabel Allende, an exquisitely crafted love story and multigenerational epic that sweeps from San Francisco in the present-day to Poland and the United States during the Second World War.

In 1939, as Poland falls under the shadow of the Nazis, young Alma Belasco's parents send her away to live in safety with an aunt and uncle in their opulent mansion in San Francisco. There, as the rest of the world goes to war, she encounters Ichimei Fukuda, the quiet and gentle son of the family's Japanese gardener. Unnoticed by those around them, a tender love affair begins to blossom. Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the two are cruelly pulled apart as Ichimei and his family, like thousands of other Japanese Americans are declared enemies and forcibly relocated to internment camps run by the United States government. Throughout their lifetimes, Alma and Ichimei reunite again and again, but theirs is a love that they are forever forced to hide from the world.

Decades later, Alma is nearing the end of her long and eventful life. Irina Bazili, a care worker struggling to come to terms with her own troubled past, meets the elderly woman and her grandson, Seth, at San Francisco's charmingly eccentric Lark House nursing home. As Irina and Seth forge a friendship, they become intrigued by a series of mysterious gifts and letters sent to Alma, eventually learning about Ichimei and this extraordinary secret passion that has endured for nearly seventy years.

Sweeping through time and spanning generations and continents, The Japanese Lover explores questions of identity, abandonment, redemption, and the unknowable impact of fate on our lives. Written with the same attention to historical detail and keen understanding of her characters that Isabel Allende has been known for since her landmark first novel The House of the SpiritsThe Japanese Lover is a profoundly moving tribute to the constancy of the human heart in a world of unceasing change.

My Thoughts

Isabel Allende is one of my favorite author's of all time and with the reading slump I had been in, trying to get through a previous book that just well drug on, I decided it was to her that I would run to for I knew she wouldn't fail me.

The Japanese Lover is a sweeping book of historical fiction starting in 1939 and taking us all the way to 2013, it is the love stories of Alma and Ichimei, Irina and Seth, and Nathaniel and Lenny. There is of course different types of love and they are all felt in this book, the love of grandparents for a grandchild, forbidden love, a convenient love, and of course a patient love. I sighed, felt my heart swell, then I cried, and I marveled at the magic that Allende is able to magically weave on the page, it put me in a trance, so that my last book's 7-day reading horror was wiped clean from my memory and I am once again reading with joy!

Just truly a magnificent book that I think anyone who loves historical fiction and even contemporary fiction would truly enjoy. 

Thanks for coming by,

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