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The Street of a Thousand Blossoms | [Gail Tsukiyama]

The Street of a Thousand Blossoms

It is Tokyo in 1939. On the Street of a Thousand Blossoms, two orphaned brothers are growing up with their loving grandparents. The older boy, Hiroshi, shows unusual skill at sumo wrestling, while Kenji is fascinated by the art of creating hard-carved masks for actors in the Noh theater. 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.
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Publisher's Summary

It is Tokyo in 1939. On the Street of a Thousand Blossoms, two orphaned brothers are growing up with their loving grandparents, who inspire them to dream of a future firmly rooted in tradition. The older boy, Hiroshi, shows unusual skill at the national obsession with sumo wrestling, while Kenji is fascinated by the art of creating hard-carved masks for actors in the Noh theater.

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

What the Critics Say

"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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (146 )
5 star
 (53)
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4.2 (48 )
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4.1 (46 )
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Performance
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  •  
    L. Walker Portland, ME USA 12-13-07
    L. Walker Portland, ME USA 12-13-07 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
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    "Another great story from Ms. Tsukyama"

    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.

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Victor Coats, NC, USA 09-22-07
    Victor Coats, NC, USA 09-22-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
    53
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    "Great Audio Book"

    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!

    18 of 20 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda Beaverton, OR, United States 11-22-11
    Linda Beaverton, OR, United States 11-22-11 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
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    "pure joy"

    I love the interpersonal relationships that Gail creates. the emotions are so strong. The joys are also so strong.. excellent relaxing book to enjoy.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Margaret San Jose, CA, United States 06-30-10
    Margaret San Jose, CA, United States 06-30-10 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Vanilla, but beautiful vanilla"

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dawn Kaneohe, HI, United States 01-08-13
    Dawn Kaneohe, HI, United States 01-08-13 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
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    "Enjoy it!"
    If you could sum up The Street of a Thousand Blossoms in three words, what would they be?

    Love, sad, and interesting story


    What did you like best about this story?

    The grandmother, very strong lady!


    What about Stephen Park’s performance did you like?

    He was great!


    If you could rename The Street of a Thousand Blossoms, what would you call it?

    I would leave it just the way it is.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeannie Vanderhoof, BC, Canada 08-13-12
    Jeannie Vanderhoof, BC, Canada 08-13-12
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    3
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    Story
    "Interesting look into Japenese culture"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    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.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cindy Gilbert, AZ, USA 05-26-10
    Cindy Gilbert, AZ, USA 05-26-10 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    "Loved it!"

    Great story. Superb narrator!

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
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