Saturday, June 26, 2010

Color of the Sea by John Hamamura

Color of the SeaThe story begins pre-WWII and follows the life of 9 year old Isamu (Sam). Sam leaves his mother and siblings in Japan to join his father in Hawaii. From a proud Samurai family, Sam's father has become an alcoholic, blue collar laborer working in the cane fields of Hawaii. His dream for Isamu (like all parents) is that the boy transcend the his fathers station by being educated in English and ultimately to study at an American College. This story is deeply spiritual and the writing is superb. Hamamura understands the concept of "less is more" when it comes to writing.   He writes with creatively colorful descriptions, with an eloquent style, and weaves a beautiful message within the rich story set in an historically challenging time for Japanese Americans. His descriptions of the personal and spiritual development of Isamu ("Sam"), the main character struck a deep chord and resonated with me  The explanations of "mu" and "ki" in Japanese cultural and spiritual experience were especially beautiful.  At times, the writing seems "cutesy" but, overall, this book was beautiful and stirring.  I especially loved how the Sensei got Sam to see colors everywhere he looked.

Rating: 4 Recommend