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.
About the Author
Born to a Chinese mother and a Japanese father in San Francisco, Gail Tsukiyama now lives in El Cerrito, California. Her novels include Dreaming Water, Women of the Silk, The Language of Threads, and Night of Many Dreams.
"Tsukiyama brings a fluid, smooth elegance to the complicated story she tells."—The San Francisco Chronicle Book Review
"An exraordinary graceful and moving novel about goodness and beauty. Tsukiyama is a wise and spellbinding storytelling."—Booklist
"Beautifully crafted . . . Tsukiyama's writing is crystalline and delicate, and notably in her evocative of time and place."—Publishers Weekly