The Color of Air

Gail Tsukiyama. HarperVia, $26.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-06-297619-2
The 1935 eruption of Hawaii’s Mauna Loa volcano forms a suspenseful backdrop for Tsukiyama’s engrossing novel (after A Hundred Flowers). The day the eruption begins, Daniel Abe returns to Hilo, where he was raised among the close-knit Japanese American community clustered around a brutal sugarcane plantation. Having overcome the prejudice against “Orientals,” Daniel studied and practiced medicine in Chicago for 10 years before his guilt over fatally misdiagnosing a four-year-old patient drives him to return home. His mother, Mariko, died two years ago of cancer, and while living in her bungalow Daniel reconnects with Hilo’s residents, including Koji, who drives the plantation’s freight train and whose love helped sustain Mariko and Daniel after they were abandoned by Daniel’s father; Mama Natua, a matriarch sliding into senility; and Daniel’s former girlfriend, Maile, who has returned to Hilo with shame of her own. As the lava flow creeps toward Hilo, the characters cope with their own and others’ secrets. Tsukiyama demonstrates a range of descriptive powers, depicting the island’s beauty and the oppressive plantation with equal skill. The story’s rich interconnections are captured through multiple third-person viewpoints and brief sections that revisit the past. Tsukiyama’s rich and beautifully written exploration of the uncertainty of life and the power of community has timeless appeal. Agent: Joy Harris, Joy Harris Agency. (July)
Reviewed on : 06/29/2020
Release date: 07/07/2020
Genre: Fiction
MP3 CD - 978-1-0941-6296-6
Compact Disc - 978-1-0941-6295-9
Book - 978-0-06-297620-8
Ebook - 320 pages - 978-0-06-297621-5
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