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The author of the critically acclaimed So Far from the Bamboo Grove continues her autobiography, describing the hardships, poverty, tragedies, and struggles of life for her and her two older siblings, living as refugees in post-World War II Japan.
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Gr. 6-10. In the fictionalized autobiography So Far from the Bamboo Grove (1986), Yoko and her Japanese family escape from the Communist takeover in North Korea at the end of World War II and finally reach Kyoto, Japan, only to find themselves unwelcome there. This sequel has the same quiet honesty about ordinary people caught up in terrible times. Yoko's first-person narrative tells of a once secure middle-class child now homeless, hungry, and in danger. Mother is dead; 13-year-old Yoko and her older brother and sister struggle together to survive in Kyoto, scavenging for scraps, working at anything they can find, even cleaning toilets. Father is a prisoner somewhere; the hope of his return is like a heartbeat in everything they do. Driven from their warehouse home by fire, they find themselves accused of arson and murder, and they help the police solve the murder mystery. However, the core of the story is not the big events, but the family drama and the home the young people make together, whether in a shack or a hospital room. Their loving bonds are strong, but they're also irritable and nervy. Yoko hates her sister's bossiness, especially the insistence that Yoko go to school. The school scenes are brutal: the rich students torment Yoko as an outsider; even when she graduates with top honors, they don't want her in the class photo. Yet Watkins doesn't indulge in self-pity. Except for some occasional overwriting ("I sighed sadly"), the violent suffering is treated with restraint, as in the unforgettable vignette of a scarred atom-bomb survivor who dies an outcast. The climax builds to Father's return, and his homecoming is described with the intense understatement that characterizes the best parts of this compelling story. Hazel RochmanFrom Kirkus Reviews:
A continuation of Far from the Bamboo Grove (1986), which described the author's harrowing escape from Korea at the end of WW II. It is 1947 and Yoko, now 13, is still hoping her father will return to Japan; her mother has died, a fact she must conceal from the school her older sister Ko and brother Hideyo insist she attend. The three are refugees in their own country, surviving on the most meager of diets in a ``four-tatami room'' in a warehouse. When their generous landlords are murdered and the warehouse is burned they barely escape; rescuing their few precious possessions, Ko is so badly hurt that she's hospitalized for months. Yoko cares for her while Hideyo holds two menial jobs; they sleep and cook their meals in Ko's hospital room. Meanwhile, they are accused of the murder, exacerbating the cruel hazing Yoko already receives from classmates as a refugee, but are able to help the police solve the crime. When Ko is discharged they build a shack under a bridge; later, they share the home of a kindly Burakumin (outcast) met in the hospital. From its gripping first pages, where the hungry trio is plunged into danger, the immediacy and translucent simplicity of Watkins's narrative are compelling. The authentic portrayal of postwar Japan is fascinating; the lively reconstructed dialogue deftly reveals character, especially of Ko, who masks affection for her sister with stern demands. Yoko--generous, hard-working, persistent to a heroic degree but above all modest--is unforgettable. LC classes this as fiction. (Autobiography. 11+)heroic degree but above all modest--is unforgettable. LC classes this as fiction. (Autobiography. 11+) -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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Book Description U.S.A.: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, 1994. Hardcover. Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. 1st Edition... 9314 Language: eng Language: eng Language: eng Language: eng Language: eng Language: eng Language: eng Language: eng Language: eng. Signed by Author(s). Seller Inventory # 3H162Z
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