The Japanese Lover

  • by Isabel Allende
  • Narrated by Joanna Gleason
  • 9 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

From New York Times and internationally best-selling author Isabel Allende, an exquisitely crafted love story and multigenerational epic that sweeps from San Francisco in the present day to Poland and the United States during the Second World War.
In 1939, as Poland falls under the shadow of the Nazis, young Alma Belasco's parents send her away to live in safety with an aunt and uncle in their opulent mansion in San Francisco. There, as the rest of the world goes to war, she encounters Ichimei Fukuda, the quiet and gentle son of the family's Japanese gardener. Unnoticed by those around them, a tender love affair begins to blossom. Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the two are cruelly pulled apart as Ichimei and his family - like thousands of other Japanese Americans - are declared enemies and forcibly relocated to internment camps run by the United States government. Throughout their lifetimes, Alma and Ichimei reunite again and again, but theirs is a love that they are forever forced to hide from the world.
Decades later, Alma is nearing the end of her long and eventful life. Irina Bazili, a care worker struggling to come to terms with her own troubled past, meets the elderly woman and her grandson, Seth, at San Francisco's charmingly eccentric Lark House nursing home. As Irina and Seth forge a friendship, they become intrigued by a series of mysterious gifts and letters sent to Alma, eventually learning about Ichimei and this extraordinary secret passion that has endured for nearly 70 years.
Sweeping through time and spanning generations and continents, The Japanese Lover explores questions of identity, abandonment, redemption, and the unknowable impact of fate on our lives. Written with the same attention to historical detail and keen understanding of her characters that Isabel Allende has been known for since her landmark first novel The House of the Spirits, The Japanese Lover is a profoundly moving tribute to the constancy of the human heart in a world of unceasing change.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Delightfully Allendesque

I have spent a few glorious hours listening to Isabel Allende s excellent new novel.
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- Janet Hughes

Curiously similar and yet dissimilar to Ms Allende's previous work

A long time passionate admirer of this Author's work, I was at first puzzled at the style of this novel at the beginning and also not very enthusiastic with the mode of oral delivery. I hesitated. But now, I am glad I persisted. Although there is a lot of historically important detail, I felt, "crammed in " unnecessarily, I came to see that there may be a new generation of listeners to whom these momentous events are unknown and it needs retelling. From the Balkans to Japan, the U.SA., forgiveness and love have to be fore grounded, always.
This is where the similarities with the earlier, "magical realism" novels are the strongest. Perhaps Age is a character in this novel and it helps the listener to understand and share.
It reminded me of Alice Munro and Elizabeth Strout's work-fine company to be in.
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- Earnest

Book Details

  • Release Date: 03-11-2015
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio