Retired nightclub performer/computer technician, I now teach hula and ukulele to seniors, and record Hawaiian music for my halau!
I have read the other reviewers of this book and am simply astonished that NO ONE has connected this tragic love story to the opera "Madame Butterfly" by Puccini. In my opinion, Lee Langley does a very fair job of translating the libretto to novel form. So, it's tragic. That's what most operas are, people. This is the standard operatic fare - seventh in the world for popularity.
First of all, the time setting is very true to the era. Imagine yourself as a young 15-year-old girl who must, because of the loss of prominence of her family, has been sold to a marriage broker. Here is a teenager, who has her secret hopes and dreams of marriage to a gaijin (foreigner). No one tells her that its all a sham, that she's really his live-in prostitute and has no plan to actually marry her. In truth, in the early 20th century, this scenario was played out over and over again as young innocent girls were sold as sex slaves to foreigners.
The gutless Pinkerton plays her along not caring how he is damaging her psyche, and treats her as if she has no feelings. But...this is the way things were in the early 20th century. Historically, women were chattel. Read this book and thank your lucky stars you are in the 21st century and this kind of abuse doesn't fly in civilized countries anymore.
The poor Cho-Cho is clueless, and what 15-year-old girl raised in a cloistered, upperclass family was not. Her classic Japanese upbringing turns out to be fatal, because she would rather die than cause her "husband" or his wife any grief. One reviewer complained that Pinkerton didn't have any character...well, that's absolutely correct. He was an unfeeling, selfish jerk who was a user and abuser. His American wife had more class than he did.
I feel sorry for those of you who did not "get" this story. Oh, poor you. It was too sad. Sorry about that, but Lee Langley courageously tells it like it was in Japan in those days. I know because I was there during the Occupation and I witnessed it.
The opera itself was a huge success not only for the pathos and tragedy but for the arias and costumes. Perhaps if you saw the story in this light it would be more interesting. I give this one five stars! Narration was spot on!
I enjoyed the story from the first page to the last. I enjoyed the narrators voices. Made me feel I could close my eyes and see them. Walk their path of life with them.
pacing of the story was horrible. It just seemed to drone on with out going anywhere.
maybe, she wasn't horrible, but at the same time her voice didn't quite fit with the story.
I wouldn't cut any of them but I think the storyline and pacing needed some major work. Also the characters all felt very 1 dimensional lacking a certain depth that evokes empathy with a character.
at first I was not understanding story, than it all made sense.
Her different voices.
Joey how he changed and evolved.
very moving story I did not want it to end.
Retired evidently sounds better than disabled.. It's a knee thing. Bone on bone, baby. Not a good candidate for surgery (health issues)..
This is one of the best books of late. Riveting and compassionate, takes turns you don't expect.
Cho Cho, she suffers but stays true to the spirit.
JOEY, he is the one who suffers and feels.
I wouldn't say this was a great read as it was not my typical genre or interest however it was interesting enough to keep me listening all the way through and I don't feel like I wasted my money. The ending was a bit blah
Really good I was hooked!
None completely different
Cho cho I loved how she developed from a shy innocent naive girl to a strong independent woman
Give it a try!!
This book had a lot of potential with interesting subject matter and historical interest. However unlike other listeners I cant wait for it to end to get to other books in my library. I usually hate being interrupted while listening but find I can easily have a brief conversation and go back to listening without having missed anything. I feel a sense of annoyance with all the characters simply because they are either jerks or completely spineless. The narrator sounds as though she's reading to a child so a bit patronizing. Might be OK as a movie.