The Pearl Diver

by Jeff Talarigo | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 1400034914 Global Overview for this book
Registered by midwinter of Tucson, Arizona USA on 3/2/2006
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This book is in a Controlled Release! This book is in a Controlled Release!
6 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by midwinter from Tucson, Arizona USA on Thursday, March 02, 2006
A first novel of rare beauty and sensitivity, Jeff Talarigo's The Pearl Diver follows the harsh fate of a 19-year-old Japanese pearl diver who is diagnosed with leprosy. It is 1948. There are trial medications for her condition, but a weight of prejudice against her. Her name is erased from the family register, and she is rowed to a lifelong exile at the island leprosarium on Nagashima. Ordered to give herself a new name, she decides on Miss Fuji, for the mountain she loves. The balance of the novel is delivered in poignant fragments that appear as notes to a modern-day anthropological study of the leprosarium. Numbered artifacts like "An old map of Honshu" and "A blank white urn" spark stories of the patients Miss Fuji has known and cared for, most of whom were much sicker than she: crippled, blinded, deformed, but all the more human for their suffering. The cruelties inflicted on the patients at Nagashima almost rival the cruelties of the disease itself. Talarigo's novel could easily succumb to sentimentality, but he maintains the poise of Miss Fuji: one who watches, who does not forgive, but who will not be lowered by vengeance or despair. --Regina Marler

Journal Entry 2 by midwinter from Tucson, Arizona USA on Monday, December 18, 2006
I read this in two sittings - what a wonderful book! It's written in very simple prose, but is extremely moving. Passing on to mellonhead for candy-is-dandy's m-bag :)

Journal Entry 3 by mellonhead from Austin, Texas USA on Thursday, January 04, 2007
Caught. I think I have to read this one before the M-bag goes out. It's far from filled, so I have plenty of time. Thanks for the extra $ for the M-bag. I really appreciate it.

Journal Entry 4 by wingcandy-is-dandywing from Great Bardfield, Essex United Kingdom on Saturday, June 16, 2007
I've got it now - and it looks really good. Thanks to midwinter and mellonhead.

Journal Entry 5 by wingcandy-is-dandywing from Great Bardfield, Essex United Kingdom on Sunday, June 22, 2008
A lovely poignant story. This is the second book I have read in a few months about the banishment of lepers to island colonies and the horror and fear felt towards them by the healthy community. They were very different novels, with different writing styles and I much prefered this one. It was much simpler in style yet I felt it protrayed the sadness and isolation so much better. The other book was The Island by Victoria Hislop.

This is now off to AceofHearts who won it in a book swap some months ago. Sorry for the delay.

Journal Entry 6 by wingAceofHeartswing from Mississauga, Ontario Canada on Wednesday, July 02, 2008
received i9n the mail today. Thanks!!

Journal Entry 7 by HoserLauren at Mississauga, Ontario Canada on Saturday, July 05, 2014
My mom, AceofHearts, passed away from breast cancer on September 17, 2013. Aside from being one of the best people I know, she was an avid reader and took immense pleasure in Bookcrossing, her book club, and reading many great books. Unfortunately she didn't get around to reading this book.

We had similar tastes in books and would share them whenever we read something we enjoyed. This book sounds interesting so I'm going to keep it to read.

Journal Entry 8 by HoserLauren at Burlington, Ontario Canada on Saturday, March 30, 2019
Miss Fuji is the youngest pearl diver in her group. She feels at peace in the water and comes back daily with bounty from the sea. On one dive, she cuts her arm but doesn't notice the pain. She sees a spot on her skin in the same area where she got cut. She doesn't think too much of it until she finds another spot and goes to the doctor. Miss Fuji has leprosy.

In the mid 1900s Japan, those with the disease are shunned and sent to an island to live out the rest of their life. Even though Miss Fuji tries to hide, they find her and send her to this island.

The first part of the book focuses on the profession of pearl diving, which is incredibly interesting. Having recently visited the Korean island of Jeju where this practice is still in place, I really wanted to learn more. Unfortunately this part of the book ends pretty quickly and it moves right in to life on a segregated island. I was disappointed by this, but I blame myself for having incorrect expectations.

The majority of this book is about being in exile with others like Miss Fuji. She finds herself a job that is important to her and the other patients and seems to find some purpose in life. The book becomes disjointed in this part because it is separated by artifacts from the island and what they mean. It would have flowed better if told traditionally; there wasn't really much value in having these artifacts help tell the story.

Though this book wasn't bad, it really suffered because I expected a completely different story from it.

Released 1 yr ago (4/13/2019 UTC) at Little Free Library, Centennial Drive in Burlington, Ontario Canada


To the finder of this book: I hope you enjoy reading this book. Please keep it or set it free when you're done. If the book is of no interest to you, please release it into the wild for someone else to find and enjoy. I hope you will make a journal entry so its journey can be tracked and to let me know the book has been found. You can remain anonymous if you wish, but if you join BookCrossing, you are in for a great experience.

Journal Entry 10 by LFLHunter at Burlington, Ontario Canada on Friday, October 18, 2019
I found this book in a Little Free library in Burlington, Ontario on Newell.

Journal Entry 11 by LFLHunter at Burlington, Ontario Canada on Sunday, October 20, 2019

Released 11 mos ago (10/20/2019 UTC) at Burlington, Ontario Canada


I have watched a few documentaries on leper colonies. I was thrilled to find a historical fiction book, on Japan's island leprosarium. I read this book in less than two days. I gave this book to someone else, who also enjoys historical fiction.

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