The Samurai's Garden

The Samurai's Garden

Book - 1996
Average Rating:
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The daughter of a Chinese mother and a Japanese father, Tsukiyama uses the Japanese invasion of China during the late 1930s as a somber backdrop for her unusual story about a 20-year-old Chinese painter named Stephen who is sent to his family's summer home in a Japanese coastal village to recover from a bout with tuberculosis. Here he is cared for by Matsu, a reticent housekeeper and a master gardener. Over the course of a remarkable year, Stephen learns Matsu's secret and gains not only physical strength, but also profound spiritual insight. Matsu is a samurai of the soul, a man devoted to doing good and finding beauty in a cruel and arbitrary world, and Stephen is a noble student, learning to appreciate Matsu's generous and nurturing way of life and to love Matsu's soulmate, gentle Sachi, a woman afflicted with leprosy.

Publisher: New York : St. Martin's Griffin, 1996
ISBN: 9780312144074
0312144075
Branch Call Number: TSU
Characteristics: 211 p. ;,25 cm

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GLNovak
Jul 08, 2016

This book came highly recommended, but for me it missed the mark. I did like it, but found the monotone of the narrative jarring. The story covers the horrendous atrocities of the Sino-Japanese War, a suicide, the ostracism of lepers out of the village, the breakup of Stephen's parents, the decades-long hidden love of Matsu and Sachi, and the recovery of Stephen from tuberculosis - a lot to issues that all get a calm gloss thrown over them. It seems that maybe surface and the patina of beauty is everything, and undertones, especially unsavoury ones, must remain covered. There are two gardens that figure in the story. They are not at all comparable in any way except for the salve to the spirit that they provide to those receptive to it. Gentleness, beauty, calm are on every page, and for me became somewhat tedious and unrealistic. I am in the minority on this one so bow to the other reviewers who must be much more perceptive and receptive than I.

p
pokano
Nov 27, 2015

Gentle book, beautifully written, that perfectly captures the Japanese spirit. Stephen, a young Chinese man with TB, goes to his family's beach house in a small Japanese village to recuperate. The Sino-Japanese war is raging, his parents' marriage is falling apart. The family's longtime Japanese retainer and a mysterious woman who lives in the mountains help Stephen weather the storms.Highly recommmended.

k
KathyS82
Oct 22, 2015

Great quick read.

t
Travel
Jun 30, 2015

Lovely, lyrical. It flows at just the right speed. One of my all-time favourites.

s
SFMomof2
Nov 13, 2014

Poetic, beautiful; my favorite book by this talented writer.

d
DianePhipps
Feb 19, 2013

I love books that entertain while filling one in on history of different places and times. This is one of the best books I have ever read.

Vince385 Nov 17, 2011

Really a fantastic book with rich character development and a great plot.

c
carott
Jul 13, 2010

This is the best book I have ever read!

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