The Japanese Lover
By Isabel Allende
Atria Books, 2015. 321 pgs. Historical Fiction
Alma Belasco escaped Poland just as the Nazis came to power. Her parents, sensing coming hostilities, sent her to live with a prosperous aunt and uncle in San Francisco where she enjoyed a seemingly respectable and privileged life. Now, over seventy years later, she tells the story of her life to her grandson, Seth, and to Irina, an Romanian refugee working in the picturesque retirement home where Alma now resides.
Possibly her biggest and most unsettling revelation is her long time relationship with Ichimei Fukuda. Her affair with this quiet Japanese gardener is tried many times throughout the years by prejudices magnified by World War II and the American's internment of their own citizens solely because of their Japanese origin.
True friendship, forgiveness, love, prejudice and passion are all illustrated in this sweeping historic novel. Isabel Allende continues to write beautiful stories populated with deep characters in vivid landscapes. The audio version of this book was exceptionally well done.