Japanese Magnolia


Author: Rei Kimura 
Publisher: Mehta Publishing House
(Pp 333, ISBN 978-81-8498-138-4, Rs 299)

A historian is approached by an elderly couple and their grandson who wish to solve the mystery surrounding their ancestors 400 years ago through a pile of letters, written   during that time. What the historian finds is startling – there existed a gay relationship in the Edo period and what was more shocking that this forbidden love was between a samurai and a peasant. The relationship spoiled many lives including both the persons’ wives and their families. Both the peasant and the samurai led a lonely life, longing for the person they loved.

The novel takes a twist when in present time, the person who brought the letters, is a gay himself. Eventually, he is accepted by his grandparents, when they realized the agony their ancestor went through due to his forbidden love.

The novel is beautifully presented. The author Rei Kimura has touched this delicate subject in a very mature way. The gays are not different people – they just have a different orientation.

Their love is not wrong…they too need to be accepted in the society. The style of writing is interesting – the story simultaneously run in both present and past times. An interesting insight into the lives of gay!

–Varsha Verma

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