Harcourt, 2004 (2004)
Reviewed by Rita Baumgartner
ikotaro is a thirteen-year-old orphan who joins the crew of a merchant ship as an assistant cook. When the ship is torn apart by a violent storm, he becomes a castaway with the other survivors, until rescued by an American ship which anchors in San Francisco.
truggling to find a place in his new country, Hikotaro is helped by many kind and generous people, and introduced to a world of influence and wealth. However, while he dreams only of returning to his village, Hikotaro is caught between the isolated, traditional Japan of the Shoguns, and an America embroiled in the bloody Civil War.
losely based on actual events and real characters,
is translated in a simple and austere narrative. Yet it is a novel rich in history, set in a time of startling changes taking place within two great nations in the making.
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