Tuesday, January 5, 2016

The Japanese Lover - Isabel Allende

I really like this author.  I loved her biography of her daughter, Paula, and her early books had a mystical quality about them.  The last one I read, Maya's Notebook was a disappointment but I was willing to try again.  I shouldn't have.

The Japanese Lover begins with our heroine, Alma, in an assisted living facility by her own choice, one that dismays her family, undoubtedly part of her motivation.  She befriends one of the workers, Irina, and her grandson, Seth and Irina try to figure out where Alma goes on her frequent excursions from the home.

We're taken back in time as Alma shares her life story with Inna.  She was sent to America to live with relatives during WWII and never saw her birth parents again.  She grows up privileged and loved by her relatives and falls in love with the gardener's son.  The gardener and his family are imprisoned in the Japanese internment camps and the young lovers are separated.  Their love never dies and they stay in touch throughout life but conform to society and never come together.

I don't know if its Allende's translators of the last couple of books, but her prose is flat and repetitive. The story goes off on tangents with characters (Alma's long lost brother) showing up for a few pages then disappearing again.  I was disappointed.

Published: 2015  Read: December 2015  Genre: Fiction

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