Storm Rider by Akira Yoshimura
(Yoshimora, Akira)

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Synopsis

Hikotaro is thirteen years old and an orphan, left to a life of adventure at sea. When the merchant vessel he sails on is caught in a violent storm on the Pacific, an American ship comes to the rescue and takes the young boy to San Francisco. With trepidation and hope, the boy-now dubbed Hikozo- accepts his new country.

Hikozo soon dreams of returning to his village, but a longen forced Shogunate policy forbids entry to Japanese who have been abroad. Still, he tries, sailing to Hong Kong aboard a ship commanded by the legendary Commodore Matthew Perry, only to be refused and returned to California. There, a wealthy American adopts Hikozo and introduces him to a world of influence and power.

Some ten years later, Hikozo finally returns to a Japan stirred into violence by the opening of the country. But America is in the midst of its bloody Civil War, and there is no place he can call home. Yoshimura has created a great sea adventure and historical record of two nineteenth-century countries in the making.

 

About Akira Yoshimura

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AKIRA YOSHIMURA is the prize-winning author of twenty novels and short-story collections, many of them bestsellers in Japan. He is president of Japan’s writers’ union and a member of PEN International. Storm Rider is the fourth of his novels tobe translated into English.Yoshimura lives in Tokyo.
 
Published May 3, 2004 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 384 pages
Genres: History, Education & Reference, Action & Adventure, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Storm Rider, the fourth of Yoshimura’s novels to be translated into English, is a hastily narrated and curiously muted story, burdened with excess exposition and awkward construction (e.g., his tendency to flatten scenes with interpolated summaries of peripheral characters’ subsequent histories).

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Publishers Weekly

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Readers can't fail to find the novel's historical details fascinating, but its protagonist and his shipmates, whose exhaustively detailed experiences are also interpolated into the narrative, lack emotional depth, and Yoshimura's matter-of-fact prose fails to sustain dramatic tension.

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