Sophie and the Rising Sun

Augusta Trobaugh, Author Dutton Books $22.95 (208p) ISBN 978-0-525-94627-4
Part Remains of the Day, part wartime drama, this delicately written, somewhat didactic novel is set in Salty Creek, Ga., in the two years before Pearl Harbor. It focuses on Miss Anne, the moral center of the community, and on her recollection, years later, of the romance between town spinster Sophie and Grover Cleveland Oto, the California-born 50-year-old everyone thinks of as Miss Anne's ""Chinese"" gardener. Both Sophie and Oto harbor secrets. Sophie's is that the man she loved didn't return from WWI; Oto's is that happenstance and a Greyhound bus driver left him in Salty Creek, starved and in disgrace, far from his Japanese-American family. For two years the two are preternaturally aware of each other, but constrained from anything but brief, polite conversation. Each is a painter, and artistic imagination sustains both. In time, they fall into the habit of meeting at the riverbank on Sunday mornings with brushes and paper to work in companionable silence while the other townsfolk sing hymns at church. The requisite town snoop and the presence of Sophie and Anne's household help ensures that Oto and Sophie keep a formal distance, but as the author's lyrical flights intensify, so does the couple's suppressed passion. Then the war unleashes cruelty disguised as patriotism and forces Oto into hiding. As in her earlier novel Praise Jerusalem!, Trobaugh depicts in aching detail the isolation that racism occasions, and once again suggests the small but heartwarming triumphs made possible by human dignity and courage. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 11/01/2001
Release date: 11/01/2001
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FORMATS
Hardcover - 240 pages - 978-0-7515-3245-6
Hardcover - 208 pages - 978-0-316-85971-4
Hardcover - 287 pages - 978-0-7531-6874-5
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-553-52886-2
Paperback - 224 pages - 978-0-452-28349-7
Compact Disc - 978-0-553-71462-3
Hardcover - 291 pages - 978-0-7862-4052-4
Paperback - 200 pages - 978-1-61194-053-4
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