Above the East China Sea

Above the East China Sea

A Novel

Book - 2014
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"Set on the island of Okinawa today and during World War II, this deeply moving and evocative novel tells the entwined stories of two teenage girls-an American and an Okinawan-whose lives are connected across 70 years by the shared experience of both profound loss and renewal. Luz, a contemporary U.S. Air Force brat, lives with her no-nonsense sergeant mother at Kadena Air Base. Luz's older sister, her best friend and emotional center, has died in the Afghan war. Unmoored by her death, unable to lean on her mother, Luz contemplates taking her own life. In l945, Tamiko has lost everyone-the older sister she idolized and her entire family-and finds herself trapped between the occupying Japanese and the invading Americans whom she has been taught are demons that live to rape. On an island where the spirits of the dead are part of life and the afterworld reunites you with your family, suicide offers Tamiko the promise of peace. As Luz tracks down the story of her own Okinawan grandmother, she discovers that the ancestral spirits work as readily to save her as they do to help Tamiko find a resting place. And as these two stories unfold and intertwine, we see how war and American occupation have shaped and reshaped the lives of Okinawans" -- from publisher's web site.
Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, c2014.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780385350112
Branch Call Number: BIRD S
Characteristics: 317 p. : maps ; 25 cm.


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Jun 21, 2014

In Sarah Bird's new novel Above the East China Sea the island of Okinawa is the centerpiece of a multi-generational drama that plays out during World War II and modern times. Tamiko is a native of the island in the 1940s when it is considered an outpost of Japan. She wants only to be like her older sister, Hatsuko, who attends the Princess Lily high school, meaning she has a chance at a life beyond being a maid or shop clerk but can move into the lower rungs of Japanese society. Luz is her contemporary counterpart, living on the island because her mother is stationed there. As a military brat she feels no ties to anyone or anything—a trait compounded by the fact that her sister Codie was recently killed in Afghanistan. Losing this only tie to love has hardened her to the point of foolish risks and being utterly closed off to people of any kind. Bird takes these two young girls and by blending the past and the present pulls the reader into a story of love, war, heritage, and devotion.

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