We take great pride in our homes, spending time and money decorating it to our particular standards. Yet the only thing you really need to make a home is love and family. Be it in whatever form, those two are the key-holders to your front door. Let’s step inside a take a closer look shall we dear reader? After you.
Today on the blog I am reviewing KA.E.RO.U Time To Go Home (Published October 13, 2018) By B.Jeanne Shibahara. A big thank you to the author for my copy to review, much appreciated. This book is just…WOW. Words are not enough to express it but I am gonna try dear reader. Let’s begin.
About The Author
B. Jeanne Shibahara studied fiction writing from Mark Harris (Bang the Drum Slowly) and copywriting from Beth Luey (Editorial Consultant, Chicago Manual of Style, 16thEd.) in the MA program for creative writing at Arizona State University.
In Japan, B. Jeanne has taught English at a private university, written articles for research groups, and created jazz lyrics for composer Hajime Kitamura.
Daughter of a US military officer, she married into a family of calligraphy, ikebana, and tea ceremony teachers, shamisen player, kimono fabric artist, business entrepreneur, and architect. Her home is in Nara City, the ancient capital of Japan.
KA.E.RO.U Time To Go Home
“KA-E-RO-U is a testimony to the human spirit that bridges differences and overcomes divisions, so different from the spirit that prevailed in the 1930s and 1940s and sent our grandparents and parents to war.”–Elaine Gerbert, University of Kansas, translator of Edogawa Ranpo’s Strange Tale of Panorama Island
A whisk-you-away, thought-provoking novel. Desert-dweller Meryl travels to Japan, returns a WWII flag, and brings home an understanding of life that opens her heart for the unexpected.
“In Japan…everywhere…red strings tie all people we meet together. Some strings are weak. Some have tangles. Some strong.”
Meryl–Vietnam War widow–misses her grown son, feels left out after her father’s recent marriage. A WWII Japanese flag falls into her hands. The gentle push of a love-struck professor starts her adventure–take the flag home. From the neon of Osaka, to the ancient capital Nara, to the forests of Akita, the trail follows British and US expats, a newspaper reporter, factory manager, ikebana teacher, a Matagi hunter and winds through Japanese culture, past and present. A story of shared humanity and love “in the simplest things.”
B. Jeanne Shibahara’s skillful narrative voice and comic touch bring joy to this truly heart-moving, transpacific story. There’s something in it for everyone, everywhere.
From the moment I started reading I was entranced by Shibahara’s writing. She has an elegant style that caresses you tenderly like a silk scarf. Every page is coated in delicious detail, with sprinkles of faded memories and past lives. Shibahara writes with a passion that gracefully bows and welcomes you into her home, with offers of honey and a cup of hot sake to toast departed ones. It’s an enriching experience that hugs the soul and makes you feel a relaxing sense of calm. I loved every second of it and honestly could not get enough dear reader.
“Mountain ranges spread out before her, one after the other, like a folding fan opening into the distance, each turning a lighter shade of purple. Meryl had never seen so many mountains in her life.”
Meryl is an intricate character to follow. Since the death of her husband she has not allowed herself to experience much of the world. She has clung on to the past and refused to move forward in setting her husband’s spirt free and learning to love again. Meryl still longs for the day he will step out of the car and return home. She is always the one waiting for people to come back, to welcome home. No one ever really said it to her and only when someone did, she realised the importance of it all. It’s a comforting message to know that no matter where we are in life, we will always manage to find our way back home. Somehow, someway, we will take the journey that is needed to be taken.
What I enjoyed most about this book was that it wasn’t your typical romance novel. Boy meets girl, they fall in love, the end. No, what this book tells is so much more than a story of love. Meryl doesn’t need to be swept off her feet by Greg, the widower professor. Instead she gos on a journey of self-discovery, of adventure. It is a work of art created by a mixture of textures such as chalk, paint, wax, all connecting and disconnecting, entwining until they eventually become one. It speaks of hope, inner peace, freedom, past lives and home. It’s empowering and curative to read.
“When he had been with Meryl, he hadn’t thought for a moment what sorrow filled her life. Now…what memories the flag brought her, he could only guess.
But as soon as he stepped inside, he felt a peaceful comfort, one that settles in the heart at childhood and stays throughout a lifetime, every so often showing up…in a place or in a person or in the eyes of a dog. The feeling of coming home.”
I love Japan. The food, the culture and tradition, just everything. I hope one day in the future I will be able to visit this magical land. For now, I have books. Books like this that can whisk me away in all but a page turn, with writing that arouses my senses and captivates my heart. I found myself surrounded by soba noodles, hot sake and mouthwatering mochi. (I do LOVE mochi) It was utter bliss and I was sad to leave, yet that’s the beauty about books isn’t it dear reader. Once you’ve finished you have the unlimited joy of starting your adventure anew. This is unquestionably a story you will want to keep revisiting for your holidays. Pure bliss.
“One morning when the sun was still thinking about what colors to dress the sky, Meryl dreamed. She was near a brook in a forest. In the rippling water, fish caught the sunshine like silver trinkets. And from the shadows…”
I give KA.E.RO.U Time To Go Home By B.Jeanne Shibahara a Five out of Five paw rating.
I loved this book, it romanced me, showed me the sights of an enchanting country and reminded me how blissful life can be. It was such an honour to read and I highly recommend that everyone experiences Shibahara’s writing. Oh how I long to have the deer bow their heads as I offer them food, so much joy in something so simple. Thank you Shibahara, for such a beautiful addition to the literature world. I look forward to reading more of your writing in the future.
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