Review

The Samurai's Garden

by Gail Tsukiyama



Shortly before World War II, a Chinese man, sent to Japan to
recover from tuberculosis, meets a desirable Japanese girl and
begins a love story which brims over with undying love, devotion
and passion.  Gail Tsukiyama uses her poetic narrative
style to compose the lovely story in THE SAMURAI'S GARDEN, a look
at the coming together of two distinctively different cultures and
how these differences cause a great deal of turmoil to two who are
joined by the heart in a love for the ages.

Although the author states that a great deal of her writing, in
this and other novels, comes from researching her ancestors rather
than from her actual experience of life with her immigrant parents
--- a father from Japan and a mother from China --- one senses at
the core of this story that she has delicately dropped in various
details of her parents' courtship and their subsequent life
together.

In the Japanese seaside, rendered so completely that you'll feel
the salt settle gently on your skin as you read, Stephen comes to
find rest and care for a body torn apart by tuberculosis. Matsu, a
"Samurai of the Soul," is a housekeeper and gardener who holds an
intense secret.  As Stephen recovers, he discovers more
and more fascinating things about this man and grows to love
Matsu's soul mate, the beautiful and suffering Sachi, a woman
afflicted with leprosy.  The growth and depth of their
love is a wonder to read; the soulful connection Stephen makes with
Matsu will bring tears to your eyes.

In this tale, Tsukiyama has taken an old idea (that we are all the
same under the skin and have much to learn from each other in our
obvious differences) and turns it on its ear, adding a stirring
historical setting for these love stories. THE SAMURAI'S GARDEN is
a wonderful read, one which you will want to enjoy over and over
again.

Reviewed by Jana Siciliano on January 23, 2011

The Samurai's Garden
by Gail Tsukiyama

  • Publication Date: April 15, 1996
  • Genres: Fiction, Literary Fiction
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
  • ISBN-10: 0312144075
  • ISBN-13: 9780312144074