Former Library book. Shows some signs of wear, and may have some markings on the inside. Bookseller Inventory #
Synopsis: Shortly before World War II, Etsuko returns to Japan with her infant nephew to dwell in the foreboding samurai home of her estranged mother, where she struggles to find inner peace as the world descends into war. A first novel. 35,000 first printing. Tour.
Review: At first blush, Lydia Minatoya's novel The Strangeness of Beauty would seem to be pretty standard fare: three generations of Japanese women struggle to understand and love one another. Sounds like generic women's fiction, but in Minatoya's hands, it becomes something quietly distinctive. Minatoya has a taste for the in-between. In this, her first novel, mothers are not mothers, Americans are Japanese, and warriors are pacifists.
Etsuko and her sister Naomi move with their respective husbands from Kobe to Seattle in the 1920s. When Naomi dies in childbirth, the widowed Etsuko becomes the baby's surrogate mother. The two return to Japan, where the girl, Hanae, can receive the education in subtleties that is her heritage as a member of a samurai family. The young American girl finds the chores and trials of samurai life enraging. "Take sweeping the garden path with a light bamboo broom: the point isn't just to clear off debris. Designed to develop dedication and spiritual depth, the real task is in repeating the activity--morning and dusk, over and over, for decades--until she learns to leave light, flowing impressions on the soft surface earth."
Just as patiently, Etsuko and Hanae must learn the secrets of their family. There's quite a bit of familial breast-beating, sure, but it's leavened by the perspective of Etsuko, a bumbling, sweet-tempered antiheroine of a narrator. The book comes alive as the two women, trapped in the liminal state of exile, neither American nor Japanese, learn to wrest the best from both worlds. As Japan teeters on the brink of war, Etsuko and Hanae apply their samurai-warrior sense of honor to fighting for peace. Minatoya (author of the acclaimed memoir Talking to High Monks in the Snow) never settles for black or white. She always strives for that more difficult place: the gray area. --Claire Dederer
Title: The Strangeness of Beauty: A Novel
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: 1999
Book Condition: Good
Book Description Simon & Schuster, 1999. Condition: Good. Ships from Reno, NV. Former Library book. Shows some signs of wear, and may have some markings on the inside. Seller Inventory # GRP87793007
Book Description Simon & Schuster, 1999. Condition: Good. Former Library book. Shows some signs of wear, and may have some markings on the inside. Seller Inventory # GRP8836604
Book Description Simon & Schuster. Hardcover. Condition: VERY GOOD. Light rubbing wear to cover, spine and page edges. Very minimal writing or notations in margins not affecting the text. Possible clean ex-library copy, with their stickers and or stamp(s). Seller Inventory # 2713385209
Book Description Simon & Schuster. Hardcover. Condition: GOOD. Spine creases, wear to binding and pages from reading. May contain limited notes, underlining or highlighting that does affect the text. Possible ex library copy, thatâ€™ll have the markings and stickers associated from the library. Accessories such as CD, codes, toys, may not be included. Seller Inventory # 2721300662
Book Description Simon & Schuster. Hardcover. Condition: Very Good. Book has appearance of light use with no easily noticeable wear. Seller Inventory # G0684853620I4N00
Book Description Simon & Schuster. Hardcover. Condition: Good. Book has a small amount of wear visible on the binding, cover, pages. Seller Inventory # G0684853620I3N00
Book Description Simon & Schuster. Hardcover. Condition: Very Good. Ex-Library Book - will contain Library Markings. Very good condition book with only light signs of previous use. Seller Inventory # G0684853620I4N10
Book Description Simon & Schuster. Hardcover. Condition: Good. Minimal damage to cover and binding. Pages show light use. Seller Inventory # G0684853620I3N00
Book Description Hardcover. Condition: Good. This item is in good condition. All pages and covers are readable. There are no stains or tears. Dust jacket is present if applicable. May contain small amounts of writing and/or highlighting. Spine and cover may show signs of wear. May not contain supplementary items such as CD's or DVD's. We ship within 1 business day. Seller Inventory # 34FCKY000FHN
Book Description Hardcover. Condition: VeryGood. A well-cared-for item that has seen limited use but remains in great condition. The item is complete, unmarked, and undamaged, but may show some limited signs of wear. Item works perfectly. Pages are intact and not marred by notes or highlighting. The spine is undamaged. Seller Inventory # 4BQM1A003J92_ns