The Geisha's Granddaughter
by Chayym Zeldis
Category: Fiction / Historical
289 pages; ISBN: 0786251123
Rating: 8/10 (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Harriet Klausner
Though a geisha, Mariko had a binding relationship with an older man. However, her occupation forbids her to ever marry. When she gives birth to a son, she gives the child Akira to her brother who raises the lad as a farmer. When his uncle dies, Akira goes to America to live with Mariko’s other sibling on an isolated farm. They live amiable together for eight years until the older man dies.
Akira continues to work the farm though only a teen. When he meets his fifteen-year-old neighbor Komako, he knows he has met his life’s mate. They marry two years later and have a fine life together until World War II breaks out. He loses the land and both are incarcerated in a camp. So that their daughter Mitzko lives free he joins the American army. The Americanization of Mitzko has begun even while her parents keep feet in both worlds.
This engaging historical novel provides readers with a taste of how Japanese-Americans felt while adjusting to a new world, when WW II shatters that world with the accompanying internment, and the assimilation during the baby boomer era. The tale is also in some ways a coming of age tale, but that serves as a backdrop to the post WW II era. The ensemble cast paints quite a picture as the audience sees in depth what life was like for Japanese in America over a three decade or so period. Though the action is somewhat limited, fans of deep vivid looks at a bygone time will appreciate the Americanization of THE GEISHA’S GRANDDAUGHTER.
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