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
It sounds a little bit sad, but like a worthwhile read. I have been reading Japanese detectives stories, mainly those by Keigo Higashino. I really like them. Awhile back I read Before the Coffee Gets Cold, by another Japanese author, Toshikazu Kawaguchi. I know there are a few of these, and I would like to read more. Happy reading.ReplyDelete
I like those authors too, with the different genres.Delete
The setting of WWII and Japan not something I’ve read aboutReplyDelete
I agree it's unusual to have a Japanese author write such a criticism of the imperial times. Maybe they are breaking their silence now.Delete
I like WWII books, but haven't read one set in Japan at all. Wonderful review, HarveeReplyDelete
Thanks, Wendy. It's a surprising book, yes.Delete
I'm intrigued by the setting although it seems like a sad read. Rei sounds like a fascinating character.ReplyDelete
It was interesting to follow him from boyhood when he witnessed the abduction of his father and the destruction of the violin, to adulthood as a violin maker coming to terms with what he witnessed in his childhood.Delete
Sounds like a very powerful tale.ReplyDelete
Unusual for a Japanese writer, yes. I believe he is a professor of French in Grenoble, France and he writes in French.Delete
I am intrigued with the themes of music, Japan, and France all interwoven with grief. I have not heard of this author, but that’s what the challenge is for: to introduce one another to possibilities. Thank you for doing that!ReplyDelete
First I've heard of him too. He was born in Japan but teaches in France and writes in French. This book is translated.Delete
What a powerful story! Sounds fantastic.ReplyDelete
It sounds like a beautifully written novel. Thank you for sharing it with us.ReplyDelete
I like Japanese Lit too. Thanks for these titles. So many are good!ReplyDelete
oh wow, sounds good! I should actually read it in FrenchReplyDelete
Sounds like a sad and emotional read!ReplyDelete