The lush, tropical atmosphere of Hawaii is bound headily into The Color of Air, a novel of extraordinary grace that portrays a sugar plantation community in the 1930s facing the potential destruction of their town as a volcanic eruption draws near. The book explores the present and delves decades into the past, to the immigrant origins of the central characters — Koji, Nori, Mariko, and Mariko’s son, Daniel — revealing the buried sorrows and abiding strengths that the natural disaster brings to the surface of their community. The alternating viewpoints converge on a timeline with the lava flow, yielding an immensely resonate offering on the power of human connection. Recommended By Aubrey W., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
PARADE's Best Books to Read this Summer
From the New York Times bestselling author of Women of the Silk and The Samurai's Garden comes a gorgeous and evocative historical novel about a Japanese-American family set against the backdrop of Hawai'i's sugar plantations.
Daniel Abe, a young doctor in Chicago, is finally coming back to Hawai'i. He has his own reason for returning to his childhood home, but it is not to revisit the past, unlike his Uncle Koji. Koji lives with the memories of Daniel's mother, Mariko, the love of his life, and the scars of a life hard-lived. He can't wait to see Daniel, who he's always thought of as a son, but he knows the time has come to tell him the truth about his mother, and his father. But Daniel's arrival coincides with the awakening of the Mauna Loa volcano, and its dangerous path toward their village stirs both new and long ago passions in their community.
Alternating between past and present — from the day of the volcano eruption in 1935 to decades prior — The Color of Air interweaves the stories of Daniel, Koji, and Mariko to create a rich, vibrant, bittersweet chorus that celebrates their lifelong bond to one other and to their immigrant community. As Mauna Loa threatens their lives and livelihoods, it also unearths long held secrets simmering below the surface that meld past and present, revealing a path forward for them all.
"In The Color of Air, Tsukiyama has created a community with characters who meet difficulties and persist with grace and endurance; whose dependence on one another is, in fact, their greatest strength. A rich historical novel that illustrates why connection is more important and more vital than ever." Lisa See, New York Times bestselling author of The Island of Sea Women and The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane
"The Color of Air is quintessential Tsukiyama, generous in spirit, gorgeously written, and full of secrets and surprises. Every character in this ensemble novel is as compelling and appealing as the next and together they lead the reader into the beating heart of this tight-knit community. A stupendous work." Karen Joy Fowler, New York Times bestselling author of We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves and Winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award
"With a piercing and authentic sense of place, Gail Tsukiyama brings to life a group of ordinary Japanese/Hawaiians with intertwined lives that are filled with love, passion, empathy, wisdom, and joy. Life is hard, but it is not hopeless and in the shadow of the volcano Mauna Loa, unforgettable individuals — drawn by the author with tenderness and in vivid detail — contend with the pain and confusion of the past and the fleeting moments of happiness in the present, letting go of both pain and fear in order to meet the future." Elizabeth George, #1 New York Times bestselling author
"Tsukiyama's beautiful telling of an island son's homecoming had me under a spell to the last page. The Color of Air pulls you in gently and takes you deep." Nancy Horan, New York Times bestselling author of Loving Frank and Under the Wide and Starry Sky
About the Author
Gail Tsukiyama was born in San Francisco, California, to a Chinese mother from Hong Kong and a Japanese father from Hawaii. She attended San Francisco State University where she earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree and a Master of Arts Degree in English. She is the bestselling author of seven previous novels, including Women of the Silk, The Samurai's Garden, and most recently, A Hundred Flowers, and has received the Academy of American Poets Award and the PEN Oakland/Josephine Miles Literary Award. She divides her time between El Cerrito and Napa Valley, California.