Cloud of Sparrows

by Takashi Matsuoka | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 0440240859 Global Overview for this book
Registered by Lobodyke of Bardstown, Kentucky USA on 1/2/2006
Buy from one of these Booksellers: | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon DE | Amazon FR | Amazon IT |
6 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by Lobodyke from Bardstown, Kentucky USA on Monday, January 02, 2006
from a "free" box at a garage sale; looks like historical fiction


into Pyan's Fiction Bookbox

Journal Entry 3 by Pyan from Menasha, Wisconsin USA on Saturday, March 25, 2006
Received in my bookbox. Cover is missing.

Library Journal Review
Matsuoka lyrically evokes the Japan of 1861, a country at a pivotal juncture in its history. Isolated for centuries, Japan is now both an economic and a political target for Western nations seeking profit and geographical advantage.

In Edo, Genii, the prophetic Great Lord of Akaoka, has foreseen the destruction of his own line, as well as the dissolution of the ancient feudal system regulated by shoguns and samurai warriors. When three American missionaries arrive determined to spread the word of God and to build a mission house, Genii alone realizes their significance in the scheme of things to come. Under attack by both foreigners and native rivals conspiring against him, Genii, the missionaries, and Heiko, a delectable geisha with questionable loyalties, flee to Cloud of Sparrows Castle, where each must face the demons of the past, the treachery of the present, and the uncertainties of the future.

Straddling a yawning cultural divide, these disparate characters manage to achieve mutual respect and understanding during a journey of great physical and emotional peril.

Like James Clavell in Shogun (1983) and Arthur Golden in Memoirs of a Geisha (1997), Matsuoka effortlessly introduces the reader to mysterious Japanese customs, rituals, and traditions. Elements of romance, history, and suspense combine to fashion a compelling debut.

Journal Entry 4 by Pyan at Media Mail in RABCK, RABCK -- Controlled Releases on Saturday, March 25, 2006

Released 13 yrs ago (3/25/2006 UTC) at Media Mail in RABCK, RABCK -- Controlled Releases



Sending to Morsecode -- Enjoy!

Journal Entry 5 by morsecode from Woonsocket, Rhode Island USA on Tuesday, April 04, 2006
This book arrived safe and sound in Buffalo today.
Thanks so much for the RABCK, Pyan!

Journal Entry 6 by morsecode from Woonsocket, Rhode Island USA on Friday, July 21, 2006
I'm going to be seeing my mom on August 1st and she asked me to bring her a bag of books...
I think she might like this book so I'm going to stick it in the bag.

Journal Entry 7 by chargoyle from Ossining, New York USA on Tuesday, September 12, 2006
Morsecode was right. I did like it. I love reading about other cultures and times and this fit the bill! Matsuoka brings Shogun Japan to life in a way I haven't seen before.

Journal Entry 8 by morsecode from Woonsocket, Rhode Island USA on Friday, March 16, 2007
Back with me

Journal Entry 9 by morsecode from Woonsocket, Rhode Island USA on Friday, March 28, 2008
Since this book is looking a little worse for the wear, I'm replacing it with a copy that I got through BookMooch (a book trading site) before sending it off to shaunesay as an RABCK. It hope it will at least partially make up for being sooooo late with one of the books I owe her.

Journal Entry 10 by shaunesay from Olathe, Kansas USA on Sunday, April 06, 2008
Wow! Thank you so much Morsie! You didn't have to do that, but I'm certainly happy to receive a wishlist book!

I was getting confused reading the comments about the cover and thinking, but this one looks close to pristine! Heehee!

I'm looking forward to this one, thank you so much! *hugs*

Journal Entry 11 by shaunesay at Olathe, Kansas USA on Saturday, May 02, 2015
Wow, I've had this for 7 years. I'm so sorry! I really enjoyed it, and am now sending it off to Cheesygiraffe to enjoy! Thanks again Morsecode!

My Review:

Cloud of Sparrows is a study of the contradictory nature of the Samurai in a time when their world was inexorably moving forward. They are ruthless killers, incited to decapitate a foe over insulting words, but are also moved to tears by the nuance of a gesture, or a perceived boon found in what was not said, or not done to spare feelings and perception of a reputation. This brutal beauty is reflected on an individual as well as a cultural level, and it is into this passionate, yet rigidly structured society that Lord Genji ushers in foreign Christian missionaries, who become a catalyst for the events of the story.

Genji himself is a huge juxtaposition of ideas, welcoming the outsiders but at the same time not taking their religion seriously, even as he plans to assist them in setting up a mission location, he seems more fascinated and amused by a new toy, more interested in how it is unsettling his rivals than in their purpose for being there. He is the more forward thinking of the Great Lords, but also has difficulty letting go of some traditions and ingrained ideas, even as he recognizes they are outdated, and sometimes downright ridiculous. Coupled with the difficulties of navigating political waters, he also carries the burden of prescient visions, which often make no sense, but sometimes are all too clear.

Genji and Heiko, Matthew and Emily, Shigeru and even Genji’s loyal warriors and servants are all excellent characters who are tested to their limits throughout the course of the story. We learn the history of how the Americans came to be in Japan and see the Samurai way of life beginning to crumble under the press of time and traditions that cannot be sustained as the world moves in. It is by turns beautiful and violent, poignant and humorous, sensitive and senseless, and it was exactly what I wanted on my visit to this culture and time period.

Journal Entry 12 by cheesygiraffe at Florence, Alabama USA on Wednesday, May 06, 2015
Thanks Shaunie!!!

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