The Floating World

by Cynthia Kadohata | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 0749390484 Global Overview for this book
Registered by bookguide of Wijchen, Gelderland Netherlands on 5/6/2008
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2 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by bookguide from Wijchen, Gelderland Netherlands on Tuesday, May 06, 2008
Foreign Exchange.

In the same tradition as Amy tan's The Joy Luck Club, the novels of Kazuo Ishiguro and Maxine Hong Kingston's Woman Warrior, Cynthia Kadohata's magical novel beautifully captures the experience of immigrants in America, in a compelling and very different coming-of-age story.

"In her first book, Kadohata works wonders in evoking the mysterious balance, imperfectly held, of a Japanese-American family drifting apprehensively durnig the 1950s in 'ukiyo', a 'floating world' of menial jobs and humble yet hopeful upward mobility pursued at the edges of an enchanted but exclusive American normalcy... Kadohata achieves perfect pitch inconspicuously, telling of the lonely and comic immigrant experience of 'moving from the hard life just past to the life, maybe harder, to come.'" Publisher's Weekly.

Journal Entry 2 by ForeignExchange from Wijchen, Gelderland Netherlands on Saturday, September 06, 2008
Added to BCZ ForeignExchange: An English-language BookCrossing Zone based in the Nijmegen / Arnhem region of the Netherlands (Click here for more details.) If you would like to borrow or swap this or any other book on the shelf, click on the ForeignExchange link at the top of this Journal Entry to go to the bookshelf, and send a PM (Private Message) - click on the link underneath the bookshelf statistics.

Journal Entry 3 by bookguide at Wijchen, Gelderland Netherlands on Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Reserved for Loveamystery's Two Worlds Virtual Book Box.

Journal Entry 4 by bookguide at Wijchen, Gelderland Netherlands on Sunday, July 15, 2018
This was one of the very first books I registered on BookCrossing, taken from the expat club’s book swap library. I kept it so long because I’m interested in the immigrant and expat experience. This book failed to deliver on its promise, partly because Kadohata was protected from the reality of ‘otherness’ by her stepfather, the almost always cheerful Charlie-O, who had enough money to buy into half of a garage business in Arkansas. This lent a stability to Kadohata’s childhood that many other Japanese immigrants did not have, working as itinerant farmhands or food processors.

It was quite amazing how the Japanese community managed to stay in touch over long distance and time, traveling frequently to visit each other, but there is no Japanese flavour to this story. Apart from the rice triangles Kadohata prepared as one of her chores, placing one on her grandmother’s shrine in their house. I did enjoy the all-too-brief description of the house:
“Intricate lace curtains hung in all the windows, but none of the curtains matched, and baskets, statuettes and pottery sat in every corner. Nothing matched, yet it all matched.” (p.83)

Later on, she describes the feeling she had had as a young child travelling across country with the family in their car. Moving into her first flat, “I liked where I lived. It gave me that old feeling of being displaced and safe at the same time, like when I used to play in the small woods back of my house at night. I could close my eyes and from any point at the edge find my way to a certain tree in the center.” (p.155)

Another unforgettable influence in the book is the grouchy grandmother, Obāsan, who makes the children’s lives a misery. The child Kadohata feels responsible for her death because she didn’t tell her mother that her grandmother needed help. Quite a terrible secret to have.

The problem with this boo is that it is not much more than isolated stories, many of them not particularly interesting because they could simply be describing any childhood with a certain background. And that background is not particularly immigrant or Japanese.

Journal Entry 5 by bookguide at Eiger Nordwand in Grindelwald, Bern / Berne Switzerland on Thursday, July 19, 2018

Released 12 mos ago (7/18/2018 UTC) at Eiger Nordwand in Grindelwald, Bern / Berne Switzerland


Left in the pile of books in the recreation room at the Eiger Nordwand campsite.
This book has been released as part of the following BookCrossing challenges:
- The Ultimate Challenge - read and release books, with extra points for a monthly theme
- Reduce Mount TBR (To Be Read) - read and release books on the TBR list since before the end of 2014. I’ve had this book since 2008.

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