|Above the East China Sea|
Above the East China Sea by Sarah Bird
Published May 27, 2014; Knopf
Genre: historical fiction
Book description: The story of two teenaged girls, an American and an Okinawan, whose lives connect across seventy years by the experience of profound loss, the strength of culture, and the power of family love.
Luz James, a contemporary U.S. Air Force brat, lives with her sergeant mother at Kadena Air Base in Okinawa. Luz’s older sister has just been killed in the Afghan war. Unmoored by her sister’s death, the desolate girl contemplates taking her own life. In 1945, Tamiko Kokuba is plucked out of her elite girls’ high school and trained to work in the Imperial Army’s horrific cave hospitals. Tamiko finds herself squeezed between the occupying Japanese and the invading Americans. Like Luz, she aches to be reunited with her beloved sister. On an island where the spirits of the dead are part of life and your entire clan waits for you in the afterworld, suicide offers Tamiko the promise of peace.
Luz tracks down the story of her own Okinawan grandmother and discovers that, if she allows herself to connect completely, the ancestral spirits will save not only Tamiko but her as well.
Above the East China Sea shows how war shapes the lives of conquerors as well as the conquered and is a moving account of family, friendship, and love that transcends time. (publisher)I'm interested in the magical realism incorporated into the historical fiction of two girls years apart, who somehow manage to connect. The author, now a columnist and writer, grew up on air force bases around the world.