Across town, a renowned sumo master, Sho Tanaka, lives with his wife and their two young daughters: the delicate, daydreaming Aki and her independent sister, Haru. Life seems full of promise as Kenji begins an informal apprenticeship with the most famous mask-maker in Japan and Hiroshi receives a coveted invitation to train with Tanaka. But then Pearl Harbor changes everything. As the ripples of war spread to both families' quiet neighborhoods, all of the generations must put their dreams on hold - and then find their way in a new Japan.
In an exquisitely moving story that spans almost 30 years, Gail Tsukiyama draws us irresistibly into the world of the brothers and the women who love them. It is a world of tradition and change, of heartbreaking loss and surprising hope, and of the impact of events beyond their control on ordinary, decent men and women. Above all, The Street of a Thousand Blossoms is a masterpiece about love and family from a glorious storyteller at the height of her powers.
©2007 Gail Tsukiyama; (P)2007 Audio Renaissance, a division of Holtzbrinck Publishers LLC
"Gail Tsukiyama is a writer of astonishing grace, delicacy, and feeling. Her lyric precision serves not only to leave the reader breathless but to illuminate human suffering and redemption with clarity and power." (Michael Chabon)
"Well written and emotionally gripping." (Library Journal)
Street of a Thousand Blossoms is the best Gail Tsukyama book I have read so far! Taking place in Tokyo prior to WWII, it follows the lives of two brothers raised by their grandparents as one becomes a Sumo champion and the other a famous artisan. Life in Japan leading up to, during the war and afterwards is brought to life in vivid detail through the lives of very well-developed characters. I enjoyed this book immensely and recommend it highly to anyone who loves historical fiction - this is as good as it gets, I think.
This is a new author to me, so I was a bit hesitant at first. I'm glad I decided to listen, as it was very enjoyable.
Also, I noticed quite a few similarities between this audio book, and the movie "Letters from Iwo Jima". A bit interesting, simply because of the number of times I recognized something in common between both stories (which both took place during WWII).
A great listen if you haven't already purchased it!
I love the interpersonal relationships that Gail creates. the emotions are so strong. The joys are also so strong.. excellent relaxing book to enjoy.
For evoking a sense of time and place and mood, I give this story 5 stars. It is beautifully written and very well read by the narrator. However, there really was no STORY or conflict or surprises. All the grandparents were sage and wise. All the parents were happily married. All the kids were good and succesful and followed their dreams. And any potentially messy plot points were neatly resolved with a kind word or two from someone, or a convenient outside event. As a mood study of Japan just before and after WWII, this book is very successful. As a story, it is not.
The story was somewhat interesting, but wish the author had included more social-interpersonal cultural details. That way the characters would be more multidimensional and relatable. As it is the story is a little flat and plodding at times. I never could quite glimpse the inner workings and emotional makeup of the character.
A bit hard to follow, yet a wonderful listen. The actual plot was not certain to me yet the details of Japanese culture and interesting and nicely written. I will listen to this again. And am planning read more from Gail Tsukiyama.
Love, sad, and interesting story
The grandmother, very strong lady!
He was great!
I would leave it just the way it is.
No, I don't think I would. It took over half of the book to get me interested. The story is ok, I enjoyed learning more about Japanese culture. However, the story was quite depressing and a bit drawn-out.
"Can't recommend this enough!"
Beautifully written and narrated wonderfully, I felt I'd been transported into the lives of the characters. Very sad at times, so sad in fact that I had to leave the story and return to it a little later on a couple of occasions. I've only just finished but miss it already.
A beautiful story. The characters are so rich with history and so vivid in description. If you are searching for a gripping slice of life story give this one a try.
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