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A True Novel
by Minae Mizumura and Juliet Winters Carpenter

Overview - A remaking of Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights set in postwar Japan
"A True Novel" begins in New York in the 1960s, where we meet Taro, a relentlessly ambitious Japanese immigrant trying to make his fortune. Flashbacks and multilayered stories reveal his life: an impoverished upbringing as an orphan, his eventual rise to wealth and success--despite racial and class prejudice--and an obsession with a girl from an affluent family that has haunted him all his life.
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More About A True Novel by Minae Mizumura; Juliet Winters Carpenter
 
 
 
Overview
A remaking of Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights set in postwar Japan
"A True Novel" begins in New York in the 1960s, where we meet Taro, a relentlessly ambitious Japanese immigrant trying to make his fortune. Flashbacks and multilayered stories reveal his life: an impoverished upbringing as an orphan, his eventual rise to wealth and success--despite racial and class prejudice--and an obsession with a girl from an affluent family that has haunted him all his life. "A True Novel" then widens into an examination of Japan's westernization and the emergence of a middle class.
The winner of Japan's prestigious Yomiuri Literature Prize, Mizumura has written a beautiful novel, with love at its core, that reveals, above all, the power of storytelling.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9781590512036
  • ISBN-10: 1590512030
  • Publisher: Other Press (NY)
  • Publish Date: November 2013
  • Page Count: 880


Related Categories

Books > Fiction > Cultural Heritage

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2013-08-19
  • Reviewer: Staff

The story-within-a-story-within-a-story at the heart of this novel features a doomed, Wuthering Heights romance set in postwar Japan, with the 20th-century Heathcliff riding the Japanese-American economic wave. Concentric narratives connect and transform into a critical appraisal of commercial expansion and cultural decline. Narrator-novelist Minae begins by recalling her younger days as the daughter of a Japanese businessman on Long Island, where she meets 20-something Taro Azuma, then a chauffeur for an American. It’s the 1960s, a time of opportunity. Years later, Minae meets Japanese émigré Yusuke who describes his encounter in the states with Azuma, now a wealthy man in mysterious seclusion. Yusuke also relates the life story of Fumiko, Azuma’s friend. In a flashback to Japan, we see 17-year-old war orphan Fumiko working as a maid for a woman whose family, in 1956, takes the orphaned boy Azuma under its wing as part servant, part protégé. Azuma grows up hopelessly devoted to Yoko, the illness-prone daughter of Fumiko’s employer. Yoko in turn loves but rejects Azuma, propelling him to America and prosperity, then back to Japan and to her. The Japanese tradition of burning fires for the dead suits the ghostly Brontë-esque finale, but far more notable are Minae’s edgy insights into class distinctions, trans-Pacific cultures, and modernization’s spiritual void. A transparent translation and the author’s stylistic clarity smooth navigation between storylines. Photographs create the sense of browsing through an album—a nearly 900-page album encompassing two continents and several decades. (Nov.)

 
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