cover image Shizuko's Daughter

Shizuko's Daughter

Kyoko Mori. Henry Holt & Company, $15.95 (256pp) ISBN 978-0-8050-2557-6

In this quietly moving novel--the first of the publisher's multicultural imprint--Mori poetically conveys the sentiments of an Asian girl who has lost her mother to suicide. Only a year afer Shizuko's death, Yuki's father marries the woman with whom he has been having a long-term affair. Deeply resentful of both her father and his bride, Yuki feels uncomfortable at home, which has been redecorated to suit her new stepmother's tastes. Running long distances and painting pictures that preserve memories of happier times are the only ways the girl is able to find consolation. Throughout this story, set in Kobe, Japan and spanning seven years, the author shows how Yuki's visions, attitudes and achievements are influenced by her mother's tragedy. Although most of the narrative is written from the protagonist's point of view, the thoughts of other characters (Yuki's father, stepmother and grandparents) are also depicted in brief yet perceptive segments. A cast of three- dimensional characters, keen imagery and attention to detail produce an emotionally and culturally rich tale tracing the evolution of despair into hope. Ages 12-up. (Mar.)