Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Street of a Thousand Blossoms

Bookenders Book Group will be discussing The Street of a Thousand Blossoms by Gail Tsukiyama on Wednesday, May 25 at 7:00 p.m.

We will be meeting downstairs in the library. 

Everyone is invited to attend.

 Tsukiyama is a mesmerizing storyteller who focuses on family, tradition, and the solace of nature and art. Of both Chinese and Japanese descent, she has explored the history and culture of both lands, here imagining life in Japan during its most catastrophic time as experienced by the orphaned brothers Hiroshi and Kenji. Raised by their loving grandparents in Yanaka, a residential area of Tokyo, they are opposites. Big, strong, and confident, Hiroshi believes he is destined to be a sumo wrestler. Slight, quiet, and artistic, Kenji discovers his love for mask making and Noh theater by accident. They each secure mentors, but just as the good brothers embark on their demanding apprenticeships, war breaks out. Tsukiyama's spare prose reflects the clean-lined, distilled-to-the-essence aesthetic of Japanese art as she writes appreciatively and informatively about the arts of sumo and Noh, and piercingly about the horrific deprivations and tyranny of war, the firebombing of Tokyo, the American occupation, and the rapid evolution of modern Japan. As her endearing characters attempt to adjust to the new while preserving the old, Tsukiyama evokes a classic vision of a blasted world returning to life. Tsukiyama's historically detailed and plot-driven story of resilience, discipline, loyalty, and right action is popular fiction at its most intelligent, appealing, and rewarding.

Gail Tsukiyama was born in San Francisco, California to a Chinese mother from Hong Kong and a Japanese father from Hawaii. She attended San Francisco State University where she received both her Bachelor of Arts Degree and a Master of Arts Degree in English with the emphasis in Creative Writing.  Most of her college work was focused on poetry, and she was the recipient of the Academy of American Poets Award. She was one of nine fiction authors to appear during the first Library of Congress National Book Festival. A resident of the San Francisco Bay Area, she has been apart-time lecturer in Creative Writing at San Francisco State University, as well as a freelance book reviewer for the San Francisco Chronicle.   Her works include The Samurai's Garden, Women of the Silk, Night of Many Dreams , The Language of Threads, The Street of a Thousand Blossoms, and Dreaming Water. 

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