Not my images
As I normally do when I visit my local library, I first check out the selection of new and recommended books located near the entrance. You can usually find some pretty good ones there.
Three weeks ago I happened upon two that piqued my interest. One was The Number Mysteries (which I recently blogged about), the second was this one – Hiroshima In The Morning by Rahna Reiko Rizzuto.
I have to say, since I took so long to get through the first book I really had to rush to finish the second. The due date was fast approaching and I didn't want to either return it late and pay a fine or return it on time unfinished and take it out later to complete it.
So with a day or so to get through most of it I finished it within an hour or so of closing (after spending the afternoon curled up in a chair at the library). Needless to say it wasn't the leisurely read I was hoping for, nor was the content what I expected.
Having read the description on the back I imagined it would have to do more with the author's trip to Hiroshima to talk with the survivors of the atomic bomb, the Hibakusha, as well as the felling of the Twin Towers in her hometown of New York (which coincidentally happened during her trip). I thought they would be parallel stories that somehow might join in a mysterious twist of fate.
While Ms. Rizzuto did speak with many Hibakusha in the research of her novel and did offer much insight in the time after the bomb dropped, I believe the story was much more about her (the author) and this trip of hers overseas which turned out to be very much a journey of self discovery.
At the time of her trip to Japan Ms. Rizzuto was a young mother of two boys ages 3 and 5. She was married to her college sweetheart, Brian, and lived with her family in New York City. Having been awarded a US/Japan Creative Artist Fellowship in 2001 (funded by the National Endowment for the Arts) she spent eight months in Hiroshima researching her new book. She left not knowing this journey would dramatically change her life.
She had never intended on being a mother when she got married. But at the urging of her husband (who wanted children) she succumbed. And while she loved her children, being alone for the first time in Japan, she realized motherhood was a role she still didn't fit in.
Her relationship with her husband, Brian, was heading towards rocky ground. At the beginning Ms. Rizzuto had self doubts about why she was even there. She was bothered at her lack of progress early on. On top of that there was the pressure from home. During their many phone conversations Brian often voiced his displeasure of her for leaving him alone for so long to fend for himself with their two boys. They began to see things in each other that they resented. It was the beginning of the end.
I have to admit I wasn't all there while reading the book. Part of it had to do with what I felt was a slow start. Another part of it had to do with the fact I was under pressure trying to finish the book at the library before it closed. And the last part probably had to do with the fact the book wasn't exactly what I was expecting.
Nevertheless I have to say, Ms. Rizzuto is an excellent writer. What she did say, was wonderfully stated. I think it's a book that a lot of people would enjoy and would recommend it.