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Autumn Bridgeby Takashi Matsuoka
Synopses & Reviews
Takashi Matsuoka's unforgettable debut novel, Cloud of Sparrows, was hailed by critics and hand-sold coast to coast. Now readers are once again transported into the beauty and violence of nineteenth-century Japan — and beyond.
In the year 1311, in the highest tower of Cloud of Sparrows Castle, a beautiful woman sits by the window, watching as enemies gather below. As she calmly awaits her fate, she begins to write, carefully setting down on a scroll an extraordinary tale--a tale that unfolds in Autumn Bridge. With the same emotional power that distinguished Cloud of Sparrows, readers will travel from the storm-tossed shores of medieval Japan to the bustling streets of San Francisco--toward an overwhelming revelation linking past, present, and future. The readers who were captivated by Cloud of Sparrows, and those discovering Takashi Matsuoka for the first time, will welcome Autumn Bridge. As the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel said, " Matsuoka has all the markings of a great of storyteller." Autumn Bridge proves that right.
"East collides with West in this complex, epic tale by Matsuoka (Cloud of Sparrows), in which the ability to see the future is transferred from generation to generation in a Japanese clan. The mid-19th-century inheritor of the clan's visionary powers is Lord Genji, a powerful samurai warlord who favors western style modernization for Japan but faces fierce opposition from the antiforeigner element. Compounding his political troubles is his peculiar love affair with a beautiful young American Christian missionary. Emily Gibson has been in Japan for six years, doing her missionary work, trying to hide her feelings for Genji and translating a series of mysterious scrolls recounting the history of the clan. As she reads the scrolls, she discovers inexplicable references to her own life and her association with Genji's family. Meanwhile, flashbacks describe centuries of tangled relationships and events that result in Genji's rise to power, focusing particularly on beautiful Shizuka, Genji's 14th-century forebear, who has the sharpest vision of the clan's future. The convoluted tale is bursting with too many characters and jumps around in time too much to be a smooth read — a 13th-century Mongol invasion, assassination, clan warfare, romantic rivalries and an estranged son and heir to Genji's rule round out the packed narrative — but Matsuoka's rich, authoritative storytelling makes this an engrossing read. Agent, Candice Fuhrman. " Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
In fourteenth-century Japan, a woman sits by the window of the highest tower of Cloud of Sparrows Castle, awaiting her fate as enemies prepare to overrun the castle and setting down on a scroll a tale that links past, present, and future.
The Great Lord wields a sharp sword, rides a fierce warhorse, commands unruly vassals. He has taken the heads of ten thousand foes. His martial prowess is the marvel of the realm. But did he not enter this world bawling from a woman's womb? Did he not suckle helplessly at a woman's breast? And when the cold stars sparkle like ice in the winter sky, and the depth of eternity chills his heart, for what does he yearn more than a woman's embrace?
1860, cloud of sparrows castle in akaoka domain
Lady Shizuka had not changed in the slightest in all the years Lord Kiyori had known her. Her complexion was as smooth as the finest Ming porcelain, with the perfect pallor of a courtly woman of the inner chamber, unlined by the passage of time, unblemished by exposure to sunlight or hardship, without any telltale signs of inappropriate deeds, thoughts, or feelings. Her eyes, when they were not regarding him--shyly or knowingly or beguilingly, as the case may be--looked off into an imaginary distance, with an expression of imminent pleased surprise, an expression accentuated by her high, plucked eyebrows. Her hair was not arranged into a coiffure of the modern type, with its complexity of folds, stacks, waves, and accessory devices, but simply middle-parted and tied with a light blue ribbon into a loose ponytail at her shoulders, from where it continued to flow down her back in an elegance of lustrous ebony all the way to the floor. Her gowns, too, in polished and crepe silks of contrasting textures, were of the classical type, loosely fitted and layered in complementary shades of blue ranging from the brightness of a high mountain pool to the near black of the evening sky. She was the very picture of a princess of the Era of the Shining Prince. An era, he reminded himself, many centuries past.
Outside this room, the great military might of outsider nations crowded in against Japan. The gigantic steam-powered warships of America, Britain, France, and Russia now freely entered Japanese ports. Aboard those ships were cannons that could hurl explosive shells as big as men far past the shore, even beyond inland mountains and forests, and shatter armies concealed from sight before they were close enough to know who was killing them. The ocean that separated the islands of Japan from the rest of the world was no longer a defense. The navies of the outsiders had hundreds of such smoke-belching, cannon-bearing ships, and those ships could bring more than bombardment from afar. From distant shores, they could carry tens of thousands of outsider troops armed with more cannons, and with handheld firearms as well, and land them on the shores of Japan within a few months. Yet here in this room in the highest tower of Cloud of Sparrows Castle, the Japan of old lived. He could pretend, at least for a time, that this was the totality of the world.
She saw him looking at her and smiled. Her expression was simultaneously innocent and conspiratorial. How did she manage it? Even the most brilliant of geishas could rarely blend the two into a single look. Demurely, she lowered her gaze and covered her girlish smile with the wide sleeve of her antique Heian kimono.
"You are embarrassing me, my lord. Is something amiss in my appearance?"
"How can there be?" Lord Kiyori said. "You are and will always be the mo
About the Author
Takashi Matsuoka grew up in Hawaii. He lives in Honolulu, where he was employed at a Zen Buddhist temple before becoming a full-time writer. He is the author of the acclaimed novel Cloud of Sparrows, which is available in paperback from Dell.
From the Hardcover edition.
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