Autumn Light

Autumn Light

Season of Fire and Farewells

Book - 2019
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"From one of our most astute observers of human nature, a far-reaching exploration of Japanese history and culture and a moving meditation on impermanence, mortality, and grief. For years, Pico Iyer has split his time between California and Nara, Japan, where he and his Japanese wife Hiroko have a small home. But when his father-in-law dies suddenly, calling him back to Japan earlier than expected, Iyer begins to grapple with the question we all have to live with: how to hold onto the things we love, even though we know that we and they are dying. In a country whose calendar is marked with occasions honoring the dead, this question is more urgent than anywhere else. Iyer leads us through the year following his father-in-law's death, introducing us to the people who populate his days: his ailing mother-in-law, who often forgets that her husband has died; his absent brother-in-law, who severed ties with his family years ago but to whom Hiroko still writes letters; and the men and women in his ping pong club, who, many years his senior, traverse their autumn years in different ways. And as the maple leaves begin to redden and the heat begins to soften, Iyer offers us a singular view of Japan, in the season that reminds us to take nothing for granted"--
Publisher: New York :, Alfred A. Knopf,, 2019
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780451493934
Branch Call Number: 952.184 IYE

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BayouJohn
Apr 22, 2019

A writer follows his wanderlust to Japan where he felt he was home. There he indeed finds home and more; new Japanese wife, in-laws, stepchildren, friends, a mysterious and very confounding culture and a window that opens to show him new perspectives of life, living and death. He spends much of his time drinking in the natural cinematic beauty of the Kyoto/Nara autumn and musing on aging, the passage of time while strolling, mostly alone, through the area's parks and ancient temples. Other times he can be found playing ping pong with his new and elderly group of fellow players who become his friends. He paints a picture of Japanese culture, its rituals, family and he keenly feels the passage of time from regular visits to his failing mother in law and his own mother still living in California. Autumn and falling leaves are frequent metaphors marking time in the season of life, particularly for the elderly parents. Hiroko, his whirlwind of energy wife, and he, are both torn in their family relationships, past and present. Lyrical, introspective, somnolent sometimes poetic peek into the author's Japanese world.
Fine writing.

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