From childhood, Elena and Lina are friends. Throughout the 1950s, they know nothing of Naples—the city they live in beyond the impoverished suburb they inhabit. Elena struggles to be first in class, but realizes she will always be second to Lina. When they reach adolescence, their lives take different directions, but will either of them be able to escape into a different life from the reality of their deprived mothers?
This is a compelling step into the Italian mentality of the times, from the limited lives of women to the overbearing macho mentality of the men who frequently react with violence.
Two women, Mahsa and Katherine both develop a love of jazz. Mahsa grows up under the care of an orthodox uncle in Pakistan after her parents are murdered by her mother’s brothers for her marriage to an American. When he fears the brothers will return from Afghanistan to murder Mahsa too, Uncle sends her to Montreal to study. This is her first taste of freedom since her parents’ deaths and she begins to explore the love of music she’d shared with her devoted parents.
Continue reading “Kim Echlin’s—Under the visible life*****”
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?