The Samurai's Garden by Gail Tsukiyama
A Novel

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Tsukiyama's writing is crystalline and delicate, notably in her evocation of time and place. This quiet tale of affection between people whose countries are at war speaks of a humanity that transcends geopolitics.
-Publishers Weekly

Synopsis

The daughter of a Chinese mother and a Japanese father, Tsukiyama uses the Japanese invasion of China during the late 1930s as a somber backdrop for her unusual story about a 20-year-old Chinese painter named Stephen who is sent to his family's summer home in a Japanese coastal village to recover from a bout with tuberculosis. Here he is cared for by Matsu, a reticent housekeeper and a master gardener. Over the course of a remarkable year, Stephen learns Matsu's secret and gains not only physical strength, but also profound spiritual insight. Matsu is a samurai of the soul, a man devoted to doing good and finding beauty in a cruel and arbitrary world, and Stephen is a noble student, learning to appreciate Matsu's generous and nurturing way of life and to love Matsu's soulmate, gentle Sachi, a woman afflicted with leprosy.

 

About Gail Tsukiyama

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Born to a Chinese mother and a Japanese father in San Francisco, Gail Tsukiyama now lives in El Cerrito, California. Her novels include Dreaming Water, Women of the Silk, The Language of Threads, and Night of Many Dreams.
 
Published June 24, 2008 by St. Martin's Griffin. 225 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for The Samurai's Garden
All: 3 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 1

Kirkus

Below average
Reviewed by Kirkus Reviews on May 20 2010

An engaging story--a forgotten love triangle coupled with the misery of leprosy--dulled by the dim voice of its narrator.

Read Full Review of The Samurai's Garden: A Novel | See more reviews from Kirkus

Publishers Weekly

Good
Reviewed by Publishers Weekly on Feb 27 2008

Tsukiyama's writing is crystalline and delicate, notably in her evocation of time and place. This quiet tale of affection between people whose countries are at war speaks of a humanity that transcends geopolitics.

Read Full Review of The Samurai's Garden: A Novel | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly

Book Reporter

Excellent
Reviewed by Jana Siciliano on Jan 23 2011

Tsukiyama has taken an old idea . . . and turns it on its ear, adding a stirring historical setting for these love stories.

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Reader Rating for The Samurai's Garden
85%

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