Friday, June 23, 2017

Review: The Street of a Thousand Blossoms by Gail Tsukiyama

Title: The Street of a Thousand Blossoms
Author: Gail Tsukiyama
Year Published: 2017


Genre: Adult historical fiction
Pages: 422
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Location (my 2017 Google Reading map)Japan

FTC Disclosure: I bought this book with my own money


Summary (from the back of the book): It is Tokyo in 1939. On the Street of a Thousand Blossoms, two orphaned brothers dream of a future firmly rooted in tradition. The older boy, Hiroshi, shows early signs of promise at the national obsession of sumo wrestling, while Kenji is fascinated by the art of Noh theater masks.

But as the ripples of war spread to their quiet neighborhood, the brothers must put their dreams on hold--and forge their own paths in a new Japan. Meanwhile, the two young daughters of a renowned sumo master find their lives increasingly intertwined with the fortunes of their father's star pupil, Hiroshi.

Review: A Gail Tsukiyama book is always a welcome thing. I was headed to the United Kingdom and this book seemed like the perfect book to take on a 10-hour flight and then I didn't read at all on the flight over. Once I did begin to read it, it took me about 40 pages to get into it. There are so many characters introduced so quickly, I think I needed time to wrap my head around all of them.

But, once I got the characters straight in my head and got to know the two brothers better, I was hooked. As with other Tsukiyama novels, this one is rich in setting, character relationships, and story. All the disparate characters come together to weave one engrossing story of love, loss, and history. 

I do like it when I learn from a book and this one taught me so much about World War II and the post-war era from the Japanese perspective, about sumo wrestling and it's importance in Japanese culture, and about Noh masks and theater.

Challenges for which this counts:

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