Category: Other Asian 5 out of 5s

Ana Johns’ — The woman in the white kimono *****

Ana Johns’ — The woman in the white kimono *****

In the 1950s when U.S. servicemen were based in Japan, Naoko meets a navy officer and they soon fall in love. Naoko arranges for the sailor to meet her parents, but her family are set on her marrying Satoshi who is from a respectable Japanese family. Marrying a gaijin would bring shame on the household. Decades later, when Tori’s father is on his deathbed back in the U.S., he hands her a letter addressed to Naoko that mentions their daughter. This note, and stories her father told her in childhood from his time in Japan, send Tori on a journey to Japan in search of a sister.

Min Jin Lee’s — Pachinko *****

Min Jin Lee’s — Pachinko *****

In the early 1900s when Sunja falls pregnant, she refuses to be mistress to a wealthy man she discovers is already married. Instead she accepts an offer of marriage from a minister, and they soon leave Korea for Japan.

This is a four generational tale exploring Japan’s attitude towards Koreans as well as the family’s struggles to survive. A compelling story. And I’ve decided to reblog this exceptional book because of the current controversy on Twitter over a Nike advertisement depicting racism in Japan.

Anchee Min’s — Pearl of China *****

Anchee Min’s — Pearl of China *****

Pearl’s father is a missionary in China. When Pearl befriends a Chinese girl her own age, Pearl and Willow become inseparable. But under Mao’s repressive regime, Pearl’s family is forced to flee China. For years, the friends have no contact with each other because Pearl fears this could endanger Willow’s family, but will they ever meet again?

This story is based on Pearl S. Buck’s early life in China where she developed a deep love of the country.

Nguyen Phan Que Mai’s — The mountains sing *****

Nguyen Phan Que Mai’s — The mountains sing *****

Huong is the granddaughter of Grandma Dieu Lan who learns about the Tran family’s tragedies through her Grandmother. In the 1950s when the Land Reform committee arrived in their northern Vietnamese village, everything they own is stripped from the family and their lives are in danger. Grandma’s brother, Cong is murdered but the rest of the family escapes with help from a faithful employee. But Grandma is without money, and as she journeys to Hanoi, her children become separated. Once Grandma Dieu Lan has re-established her life, the U.S. war on Vietnam begins decades later and her home is destroyed by bombs. Can she start over again? Can she find her children missing once the war is over?