Lian Hearn has sold in excess of four million copies of her Tales of the Otori around the world. She lives in Australia with her husband.
This is a standalone novel from the author of the historical fantasy series `Tales of the Otori'. Set in the second half of the 19th century, Blossoms and Shadows depicts Japan on the precipice of Westernisation, as the Shogunate's power beings to crumble and the country is driven into civil conflict. It is also a rites of passage story for our narrator Tsuru. Will she flout tradition and marry the man she loves? One of the story's greatest strengths lies in its imagery and attention to detail. Lian Hearn manages to capture this small piece of post-feudal Japan perfectly. There is a beautiful scene, late in the novel, in which the domain's final Shogun is riding his bicycle through town, seemingly content with life as a private citizen and `modern man'. The story focuses heavily on the politics of the period, which at times detracted from the central character relationships. First-time Hearn readers may wish to start with some of her earlier novels. However, fans of the series-and anyone interested in this lesser-known period of Japanese history-will not be disappointed. B Owen Baxter is an ex-bookseller. He is currently studying Writing and Philosophy at the University of Newcastle