An extraordinarily moving book which somehow defies classification. Here is the actual correspondence between a teen age boy and his mother, both feeling that by exchanging letters even though they see each other constantly, they can communicate ideas and emotions that pressures of space, time and people make impossible. Two definite elements of this correspondence give it the particular flavor it has:- first, here is a picture of Japan during the war as experienced first in Tokyo, then in a country mountain village, by a sensitive boy -- and his mother, brought up in poverty with the new liberal point of view, but still following the traditional attitudes towards marriage. And second, an unusually interesting- albeit simple- reflection of many of the changes of adolescence. Hiroshima and Nagasaki take place during these years- 1944 to 1946; the unconditional surrender of Japan; the bombings of Tokyo. The months of rationing and the difficulty of supplementing shortages through black market; the attitudes of the country people towards refugees from Tokyo; the difficulty Ichiro experiences in accepting his scholar father's detachment from reality- and his adored mother's self sacrifice -- and always the immediate sense of devotion and close family relationship,- all this and more makes these pages profoundly stirring, and universal in interest and appeal. Already a best seller in Japan.