Sunday, July 27, 2008

Review: The Commoner by John Burnham Schwartz

Ok, I have so many books on my 'to be read' pile now that I used a Random Number Generator to choose which one in my pile to read!! Now that's crazy!! Moving on....

Well, I've never heard of John Burnham Schwartz before, but I'm starting to regret that he has three other books out there that I haven't read. Staying with the theme of the Far East, we have here the story of the Empress of Japan, told in her voice in a book written by a man. And very cleverly done, indeed.

This is the story of a girl, who in the 1950's is the first 'commoner' ever to be chosen to marry the Crown Prince of Japan. I'm smiling as I read it, thinking of Princess Diana and the childish dream of becoming a princess....

But the story that follows -- the isolation, the restrictions, the horror of it -- oh, you just feel so for her and all she goes through. I know it's a work of fiction, but I know it was meticulously researched and I can just see how so much of it must be born of truth. What a shame that people are so lost in pomp and circumstance, so overcome by tradition, that they forget how to be human and have human relationships.

Absolutely beautifully written and not to be missed!

3 comments:

Literary Feline said...

I love that you use the Random Number Generator so often. :-) It's a great little program, isn't it?

The Commoner sounds like something I would really enjoy reading. Thank you for bringing it to my attention!

Lisa said...

If you want another book along the same line, I'd suggest Empress Orchid - a much earlier time period, but a poor rural girl who ends up as a royal concubine and gives birth to the Last Emporer. A lot of the same themes of isolation and loneliness, plus the deadly politics of the royal harem. She ruled China as regent for almost 50 years - it's really a fascinating story.

Andrey Strekalov said...

Why use for such purposes a random number generator? There are more convenient tools.