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The Mask Carver’s Son

The Mask Carver’s Son

By Alyson Richman

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I hope that everyone had a great Valentine’s day yesterday. I was lucky enough to spend mine with my two favorite men (hubby and son) and my Tiffany. We had a great time eating sushi together!! Octopus, eel and seaweed yummy!! Now we go from eating the best of Japan to reading about an ancient Japanese art mask carving.

I actually bought this one. I was intrigued with it so much. This book was released in 2013 by Berkley Trade. It is 384 pages long. I love the cover on this copy.

Yamamoto Kiyoki is a Japanese art student, dreaming of studying in Paris with the inspiring and vibrant Impressionist painters.

Yamamoto Ryusei is Kiyoki’s father. Ryusei’s art, carving intricate masks for traditional Japanese theater, has been his refuge from loneliness since the death of his beloved wife, and he is revered as the most inspired artist of his kind. He expects his only son to honor the traditions of his family and his country, not to be seduced by Western ideas of what is beautiful. Ryusei hopes Kiyoki will follow his own distinguished career, creating masks that will become the family’s crowning achievement.

This is about a young man who is expected to grow up to be a mask carver, but he wishes to paint. It is his journey to be himself and break from his traditions and his culture, and the expectations of his family. This is a story of love and loss and struggle of one man to be what he wants to be. He finds it difficult to fit in France and in his homeland Japan. He follows his own dream and as many artists is not recognized or seen as a success until after his death.

I found this to be an enlightening book about the Japanese theater and the carving of the masks. I think it is interesting that during this time period the artists were to copy the styles of their masters and not be creative or inventive. The book has a good story line and is well written and thought out. I give this book a 4.5 out of 5.

 

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