Tag: book reviews

Gail Tsukiyama’s — The samurai’s garden *****

Gail Tsukiyama’s — The samurai’s garden *****

In early 1938 Stephan is ill and leaves Hong Kong for Tarumi where he stays in his parents’ seaside Japanese house to recuperate. At first, he feels isolated in the village and finds Matsu who tends to his needs, too reserved, but as his health improves so does his relationship with Matsu. While he swims in the sea or paints, Stephan-san grows concerned as Japan invades China and its armies rampage south. But he forgets these worries when Matsu introduces him to his friend, Sachi who lives in Yamaguchi, a mountainside village for lepers. As the year draws to a close, is it safe for Chinese to remain in Japan? Will he be able to part from the close relationships he’s formed with Matsu and Sachi?

Brit Bennett’s — The vanishing half *****

Brit Bennett’s — The vanishing half *****

In the deep south, twins, Desiree and Stella grow up in a small country town obsessed with whiteness. They could pass for white, but their family has a long black history connected to the foundation of the settlement. When the twins witness the brutal murder of their father at the hands of a mob of white men who storm their house, Stella has nightmares. This memory haunts her so that in their teenage years, the twins run away to New Orleans. In the room they share over the next couple of years, Desiree finds a note — Stella has packed and left. Where has she gone? And what will Desiree do once she realizes that the man she marries several years later is becoming more violent?

Rebecca Carrol’s — Surviving the white gaze *****

Rebecca Carrol’s — Surviving the white gaze *****

Carroll’s well written memoir begins when she is a child given up for adoption by her white mother to a white family in New Hampshire where she is the only black child. Her childhood is carefree until she not only grows aware of the underlining prejudice of both teenage boys and their parents but reconnects with her controlling birth mother. Carroll’s journey is one of discovering her identity through perseverance and overcoming racist obstacles in her path.

Sharon Bala’s — The boat people *****

Sharon Bala’s — The boat people *****

Mahindan’s life in Sri Lanka where he was a mechanic was at the mercy of both the Lankan government and the Tigers before he escapes by boat to Canada. Grace, a hard line adjudicator has a tough stance on those who don’t arrive through the proper channels. And Priya, a lawyer is dragged into working with the refugees when she wants to specialize in corporate law. What will happen to the refugees who are turned back? How will the Canadian officials’ characters change after working with the Tamil boat people for months?

This 2018 Canada Reads contented book is the best book on the crisis in Lanka (that still continues today for anyone not Buddhist) and what Tamils endure to stay alive.