SAYONARA by James A. Michener


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Along the "Butterfly" theme is this story of the incorruptible young officer, Major Lloyd Gruver, West Point '44 and Korean war ace, whose smug belief that he will follow the career laid out by his Father is taken to pieces and put together again by , number one girl of a Takarazuka troup, who gives him the love and tenderness that makes him a whole man. General Webster's high rank brings Lloyd to Kobe to marry his daughter, Eileen, as well as to rest. And the little cracks come when Lloyd is best man for Joe Kelly's marriage to Katsumi in the face of strict penalties, when Mrs. Webster forces the general to harsher and harsher non-fraternization orders, when Eileen recognizes Lloyd's dedication to the military life, so that Hana-ogi's beauty, inaccessibility, and bare politeness spur him to pursuit. Her capitulation, her enormous devotion and the emollient quality of Japanese domestic life and love give enchanted evenings and an enhanced understanding of her land and people. Joe and his Katsumi suicide when Joe is recalled and Katsumi is to be left behind; and Hana-ogi walks out, also under orders, from the theater, when communist-inspired rioting against Americans adds to their troubles. Lloyd is left with Eileen, proud and very aware of Lloyd's new-found courage, and his father's respect. A lashing out at officialdom and its adamant and antagonizing regulations; a romance of a "small house of great love"; the allure and seduction of Japan and its women -- this for a far more feminine (but maybe it too could be antagonized?) audience than The Bridges of Toko-Ri, which might be more practical in its understanding and tolerance.
Pub Date: Jan. 25th, 1953
ISBN: 0449204146
Page count: 208pp
Publisher: Random House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 1953


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