Good morning my lovely people! Today I have a book review for you – KA･E･RO･U: Time to Go Home by B. Jeanne Shibahara is a charming and deeply moving book which crosses genres and will leave you with a smile on your face……
A whisk-you-away, thought-provoking novel. Desert-dweller Meryl travels to Japan, returns a WWII flag, and brings home an understanding of life that opens her heart for the unexpected.
“In Japan…everywhere…red strings tie all people we meet together. Some strings are weak. Some have tangles. Some strong.”
Meryl—Vietnam War widow—misses her grown son, feels left out after her father’s recent marriage. A WWII Japanese flag falls into her hands. The gentle push of a love-struck professor starts her adventure—take the flag home. From the neon of Osaka, to the ancient capital Nara, to the forests of Akita, the trail follows British and US expats, a newspaper reporter, factory manager, ikebana teacher, a Matagi hunter and winds through Japanese culture, past and present. A story of shared humanity and love “in the simplest things.”
B. Jeanne Shibahara’s skillful narrative voice and comic touch bring joy to this truly heart-moving, transpacific story. There’s something in it for everyone, everywhere.
Where to buy:
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This is a charming story following Meryl’s trip to Japan to return a WWII flag to the family of the fallen soldier. But it’s also more than that – it’s Meryl’s first trip away on her own. Being a war widow herself, her son grown up and living in Japan, and her Dad recently remarried and about to go off on a trip, Meryl doesn’t have much else in her life other than her dog, Freckles. But she’s sent the flag and encouraged to go on a trip herself to return it. When she meets her son’s old professor, who offers to watch Freckles for her, she decides that maybe the time is right and she should go.
What we experience is a wonderful cultural and historical journey with her, making new friends and healing old wounds. We watch her coming out of herself and becoming a person she didn’t know she could be. And at the same time we learn about some of the characters around her, her friends and acquaintances – their backgrounds, lives, dreams and regrets. We learn about Japan – during the war and now, and how those involved felt. We also learn about some of the cultural traditions of the country.
It really is a beautiful story and it’s lovely to see some of the characters learning about themselves; it’s especially lovely to see Meryl really develop and come out of the other side of a place she’s been stuck in for a while, and for her to open herself up. There are some wonderful characters in here, each with their own story. I thoroughly enjoyed the historical and cultural aspects of the story, which really interested me; and the returning of the flag and references to the war were emotional and deeply moving.
The only part I struggled with were the Japanese words which affected the flow of my reading, but they are a necessity in a story like this to make it real and bring it to life.
The story crosses genres covering everything from history to romance, humour to mystery. There is definitely something in this for everywhere. A beautiful and moving story that you shouldn’t miss. Another one recommended by me!
about the author
*Bio & photo courtesy of Amazon
B. Jeanne studied fiction writing from Mark Harris (Bang the Drum Slowly) and copywriting from Beth Luey (Editorial Consultant, Chicago Manual of Style, 16th Ed.) in the MA program for creative writing at Arizona State University.
In Japan, she has taught English at a private university, written articles for research groups, and created jazz lyrics for composer Hajime Kitamura.
Daughter of a US military officer, she married into a family of calligraphy, ikebana, and tea ceremony teachers, shamisen player, kimono fabric artist, business entrepreneur, and architect. Her home is in Nara City, the ancient capital of Japan.
Many thanks to B. Jeanne for providing me with a paperback copy of the book in return for an honest review, and for her patience in getting this review up.
Have a wonderful day all, and stay safe