Every so often while browsing bookshelves or old reviews on line, an old favorite pops up to say “Hello!:” Recently two books did just that: So Far from the Bamboo Groove and My Brother, My Sister, and I by Yoko Kawashi Watkins.
Each story is beautiful, unique and even a bit haunting. Gorgeous language takes you back in time and to another culture in each novel.
First, we are introduced to Yoko in So Far From the Bamboo Grove. Yoko is an eleven-year old Japanese girl living in with her family in Korea. However, as far as she is concerned, her home is Korea. She is Korean. But when the World War II ends, the Korean people want control of the country again. Yoko, her sister and mother must leave the country they called home. Many adventures both terrible and amazing lead this family to the country of nationality, where they are the strangers. So Far From the Bamboo Grove is a beautiful, wonderful and fantastic look at another side of war. The human side.
The sequel, My Brother, My Sister and I is as amazing and powerful as the first.
Once again, Watkins has created s a fantastic look at the strength of what someone can do with enough determination. We see Yoko and her siblings as three people as they struggle to survive in a land as strange to them as they are strange to it. Yoko’s mother has died her sister ill, her father still missing and now her brother is accused of a crime he did not commit. Yoko must find a way to survive when once again her life has been drastically changed. An amazing look at the human spirit and what it can accomplish.
What makes these two stories even more superb is that each is based on Watkins own experiences as a child in Korea and Japan.
So come on down the bookstore…you never know what oldie but goodie you can find: or what goodie will become an oldie and goodie!
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