REVIEW: Midori by Moonlight by Wendy Nelson Tokunaga
You had me fooled. I thought you were Japanese. From the minute I started reading this, I felt like a Japanese woman was writing it, and it had been published in
I am endlessly fascinated by
That kind of sums up the pros and cons of the book for me. Pro: While most of the cross-cultural romances I’ve read in the past seem to pay only lip service to a person being raised elsewhere, throwing in something akin to a tea ceremony for color, this book I think genuinely gives the reader the experience of thinking from a Japanese woman’s perspective as she looks at a new life and romance in the
Cons: I think a number of readers will come upon this unaware and be dissatisfied. We already had a discussion among the reviewers here about your choice in tenses, which to my mind was accurate from a Japanese writing standpoint (since a Japanese friend confirmed to me that Japanese novels tend to be written in present tense), and because I felt that Midori was living in the “now” and trying to dissociate herself from her roots. But some readers won’t like the choice because it’s odd to the Western ear.
Also, I think some might not enjoy the romance as much because Midori approaches it in a very reserved fashion. She’s quite outspoken in Japan, but compared to San Franciscans she has a long way to go. She still keeps much to herself, and the feelings are subtle, maybe too much so. The same goes for Shinji, who actually has an American girlfriend for much of the book, though you show them as being an odd fit that drifts apart because there was nothing much there to hold them together to being with. And, we don’t get to see Shinji’s point of view, which will also be a negative for some readers. So I think this might be a hard sell with the average romance reader.
But I’m one who got into reading manga because I found English romances to be stale, and I wanted something new. This is definitely a different experience, and it really rings authentic to me. Sure, the heroine has some lucky breaks, but this is a romance. I think anyone who truly wants to experience romance and a Japanese woman’s experience in
This book can be purchased in trade paperback. No ebook format found. Jane’s Note: Just as an FYI, you might want to call ahead to see if your bookstore has it. I called three before I could locate a copy.
i’m loving this concept of multiple reviews of the same book – you’ve each touched on different aspects, as well as some overlappingish bits. i realize the ‘j-readers’ have yards and yards of books waiting to be assessed but this multi-layered approach rocks. lucky author whose work was chosen for this critical experiment
Thanks! I found it interesting to do as well. Unfortunately there seem to be very few books that we all want to read. But this one had us all jumping at the chance because it was clearly different. I hope that more authors are given the chance to publish books that are out of the norm. I really did find it refreshing.
It was really interesting reading the different reviews. After the first two I wasn’t even going to bother with the last review, but I’m glad I did! You have piqued my interest and I will try to find the book!
It seems like we have similar tastes in books (at least when it comes to manga!) and after this review I am interested in trying this book. Thanks!