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I was disappointed with this book. I was excited at the prospect of listening to another story set in historical Japan and being transported to a different time and place after listening to the excellent "The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet", but this book doesn't compare. The story is one dimensional, and everything is spelled out - the author doesn't let you work out what the protagonist's emotions are, she just tells you. I found I really didn't care about what was happening to Kozaisho - I wasn't engaged at all. So while it describes Japanese society at that time, and is interesting from that respect, it is not a "page turner".
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Would you try another book written by Barbara Lazar or narrated by Meg Kuboto?
I will be highly unlikely to read another book by Barbara Lazar, although Meg Kuboto was a good narrator.
Has The Pillow Book of the Flower Samurai put you off other books in this genre?
I've never come across another book quite like it, so no.
What do you think the narrator could have done better?
There was nothing wrong with the narration. It was very good.
What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?
Disgust, followed by disappointment with the author for such an enduring torrent of child abuse. You can't give it a pretty title and pretend it's a fairy tale. It's not. It's unrelentingly grim.
Any additional comments?
First of all a child is sold into slavery by her own family and becomes subject to physical torture and neglect. Later she is forced into child prostitution and then she begins a (graphic) sexual relationship with another child who has suffered the same. In the middle of all this she receives training to become a samurai. The samurai bits were quite good and were the reason I continued as long as I did, but I gave up after a few hours. I had hoped it would get better. It started off quite well, but... no, you can't make a fairy tale out of child abuse. I don't think Barbara Lazar has experienced child abuse, or knows anyone who has. If she had, she wouldn't have written this book, in my opinion. If this is a reflection of Japan at the time then it is a reflection of an utterly sadistic, cruel culture. Why anyone would find it interesting or entertaining is beyond me.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful