Saturday, 11 October 2008

Evergreen nominee

Finished October 10
Radiance by Shaena Lambert, read by Tara Ward
The time is 1952 and Keiko Kitigawa, a girl injured in the Hiroshima bomb attack, has come to the United States. She is brought to the U.S. by a committee working to prevent more bombs and bomb tests from happening. In return for her speaking out against the bombs as a victim, they will give her plastic surgery to remove the scars she has on her face from the blast.
Daisy Lawrence will be her host mother while she is in the U.S. Daisy and her husband Walter live in the suburbs of New York City on Long Island.
Keiko tells of the fox legends her grandfather told her rather than of her experiences on the day of August 6, 1945. She keeps herself tightly under control, except for certain times.
These times are in the nights at the Lawrences' house where she walks in her sleep and confesses her fears to Daisy in the dark bedroom. As Daisy and her connect, Daisy grows protective, and yet Keiko always reverts to her public face during the day.
The relationship between the two women is a fascinating one. While Keiko's thoughts are a mystery to us, we see from Daisy's point of view the connections and frustrations that exist. Keiko feels compelled to do what she has agreed on for her surgery, but also feels unhappy about this decision. The time and place are given so well that you feel what life was like in the American suburbs of the 50s. Daisy is an educated woman, childless and a homemaker. The relationship between her and Walter is a complex one as well, and shown rather than described.
This book has depth and feeling to it, and is a wonderful read.

1 comment:

  1. This does sound like a wonderful book. I've grown especially interested recently in books about the Japanese in post WWII era. I will have to add this one to my wish list. Thank you for the great review!