The Japanese Lover

Isabel Allende, trans. from the Spanish by Nick Caistor and Amanda Hopkinson. Atria, $28 (336p) ISBN 978-1-5011-1697-1
Allende’s (The House of Spirits) magical and sweeping tale focuses on two survivors of separation and loss: the elderly, renowned designer Alma Belasco, whose silk-screened creations fuel the family foundation, and her young secretary, mysterious Irina Bazili, who works at the progressive old people’s home, Lark House, where Alma lives. Their narratives, however, go far beyond the retelling of Alma’s remarkable affair with a Japanese gardener’s son, Ichimei Fukuda, its heartbreaking end, and her subsequent marriage to loyal friend Nathaniel—or Irina’s heartbreaking struggle to break free of her haunting past. Allende sweeps these women up in the turmoil of families torn apart by WWII and ravaged by racism, poverty, horrific sexual abuse—and old age, to which Allende pays eloquent attention. “There’s a difference between being old and being ancient,” Irina is told. “It doesn’t have to do with age, but physical and mental health.... However old one is, we need a goal in our lives. It’s the best cure for many ills.” Befitting the unapologetically romantic soul bared here—the poignant letters to Alma from Ichimei are interspersed throughout—love is what endures. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 08/10/2015
Release date: 11/03/2015
Hardcover - 336 pages - 978-1-4711-5217-7
Open Ebook - 352 pages - 978-1-5011-1700-8
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-4423-9124-6
Paperback - 400 pages - 978-1-4711-5218-4
Compact Disc - 978-1-4423-9123-9
Hardcover - 978-1-4104-8377-5
Paperback - 336 pages
Compact Disc - 978-1-5082-2734-2
Paperback - 978-1-59413-897-3
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