Title: The Samurai’s Garden
Author: Gail Tsukiyama
Context: The Samurai’s Garden is a historical fiction novel set in Japan in the 1930s. The novel is a quiet story about love and affection between people even if their countries are at war. It speaks of humanity transcending geopolitics.
Synopsis: The story is about Stephen a twenty year old Chinese painter who is suffering from tuberculosis. He is sent to his home in a coastal village in Japan, which is the summer home of the family to recover from the disease. On reaching the village home, he is taken care of by a reticent housekeeper, Matsu and a master gardener.
During his remarkable stay at the village home, Stephen learns the secret of Matsu besides which he gains profound spiritual insight and good physical strength. Matsu is a man dedicated to doing good deeds and always discovers beauty in a whimsical and cruel world. He is a samurai of the soul. Stephen is a noble student, who learns to respect and value of the very nurturing and generous way of life of Matsu. Stephen is learning to be fond of Sachi, a gentle woman and soul mate of Matsu who is suffering from leprosy. At the same time Stephen grows healthier, paints and swims in an idyllic Tarumi. The silent and strong Matsu is the epitome of the samurai who in the tender way displays his aristocratic heritage. He continues to stay in Tarumi village and in the process avoids confronting his own father, who has indulged in a affair that will lead to a family breakup.
The world outside Tarumi, a small village in Japan is a world of polarities, in this second novel beautifully crafted by the author. It is about Japanese versus Chinese, the East versus West, etc.
Other works by the Author:
1991 – Women of the Silk
1998 – Night of Many Dreams
1999 – The Language of Threads
2002 – Dreaming Water
2007 – The Street of a Thousand Blossoms
2012 – A Hundred Flowers
2020 – The Color of Air ( To be released)