BookDragon Books for the Diverse Reader

The Pearl Diver by Jeff Talarigo [in AsianWeek]

Pearl Diver TalarigoOkay, so I’ve been known to get on a soapbox more often than not about inauthentic voices usurping other people’s identities, i.e. white men writing as Asian women, especially sets me off – oh, don’t even get me started. BUT having said that, you must put this one on your summer reading lists: it’s an absolute, breathtaking gem.

At 19, a young Japanese pearl diver learns she has leprosy, a disease that, in 1948, will ruin her life in every way. She is sent to a leprosarium on the island of Nagashima, where she lives out her days as “Miss Fuji,” a woman without a past, and equally without a future. Heartbreaking, haunting, but ultimately hopeful … this one’s a true secret treasure.

By the way, there’s another Pearl Diver coming in August – a non-murder mystery – so don’t get confused. That one is mere pulp, this one’s the real thing.

Review: “New and Notable Books,” AsianWeek, May 28, 2004

Readers: Adult

Published: 2004



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