Stock Image

The Strangeness of Beauty (Signed First Edition)

Lydia Minatoya

489 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0684853620 / ISBN 13: 9780684853628
New Condition: New Hardcover
From Dan Pope Books (West Hartford, CT, U.S.A.)

AbeBooks Seller Since October 12, 2002

Quantity Available: 1

Buy New
List Price: US$ 23.00
Price: US$ 50.00 Convert Currency
Shipping: US$ 3.95 Within U.S.A. Destination, Rates & Speeds
Add to basket

30 Day Return Policy

About this Item

New York: Simon and Schuster [1999]. First edition. First printing. Hardbound. New in dust jacket, very fine/very fine in all respects. A pristine unread copy. SIGNED BY AUTHOR on title page. [CASE6] 0.0. Bookseller Inventory # leaf35

Ask Seller a Question

Bibliographic Details

Title: The Strangeness of Beauty (Signed First ...

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:New

Dust Jacket Condition: Dust Jacket Included

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: 1st Edition....

About this title


When Etsuko Sone's sister dies in childbirth in Seattle's shabby Japantown, love for the precocious child catapults Etsuko back across the Pacific and into the austere samurai household of her mysterious mother, Chie, a woman who rejected her at birth. The dubious reconciliation is for the sake of the little Hanae, that she might learn her Fuji heritage and the Zen lessons of humility, dignity, self-discipline, and grace. In Japan, Etsuko is the ultimate outsider: a returning emigrant in a land she left years before; a common woman thrust into a house of secrets and riches; a childless mother and a motherless daughter. As Etsuko and Hanae do their often quite comic best to adapt to life within Chie's samurai household, Japan is changing in dangerous ways. Worldwide economic strife strips Japan's people of food and clothing even as wartime preparations strip them of information and freedoms. Chie and Etsuko greet the mounting militarism with resistance, and when the imperial army cuts cruelly into Chinese Manchuria, accusations of treachery, of antipatriotism, begin to rain on the Fuji household. It is then that the women realise their separate independence is their common bond. It is then that Etsuko finds hidden strength to pursue meaning and beauty in a situation beyond her control.


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

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

Store Description

An online bookstore. All books stored in a smoke-free, bug-free, pet-free environment. We take great pride in the condition of our books. Most are in new condition, untouched, unopened. We guarantee that you'll be pleased with your book purchase! All collectible books are shipped in well padded boxes within USA, not envelopes.

Visit Seller's Storefront

Terms of Sale:

All books shipped within 24 hours.
This is a sole proprietorship, Daniel C. Pope, 35 Avondale Road, West Hartford Conn. 06117, USA. Email: Phone: (860) 232-9930.

Shipping Terms:

Media rate shippng is $3.95. Priority rate shipping is $5.90. International priority rate in a box for a two-pound book is approxiamtely $20. Some heavy books might be more to ship overseas. Will overnight express anywhere within USA if you ask first. All books sent in well padded sturdy boxes.

List this Seller's Books

Payment Methods
accepted by seller

Visa Mastercard American Express