An historical novel set in Japan and France.
Awarded the Prix des libraires by France’s booksellers, a universal story about music and restoring one’s faith in others amid the aftermath of tremendous loss.
Expected publication: April 4th, 2023 by HarperVia
The novel is an anti-war/anti-imperialism novel set in Japan before and during WWII and in France post war. I was overwhelmed by the sorrow of the 11-year-old Rei as he witnessed/heard his father Yu being arrested at a private concert recital and his father's treasured violin smashed by the boots of a Japanese corporal.
The story is moving and yet sentimental; it links classical music, its performance on stringed instruments, and the loss Rei feels when his father disappeared after the arrest. I thought it fitting that Rei becomes a maker/restorer of quality violins in his own shop in France, where he was raised by a French couple who were friends with his missing father Yu.
Rei spends his life trying to overcome the fractured soul he had become from memories of the violence to his father and his father's beloved violin. Rei heals as he connects with others from his past, piecing together what had happened, in an effort to heal all those who shared in his distress.
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for this amazing historical novel of music, love, loss and restoration.
This review is part of the Japanese Literature Challenge 16 hosted by DolceBellezza