Monday, May 11, 2009

The Commoner


The Commoner is a beautifully written and well researched novel. Mr. Schwartz has given us a glimpse into the world of the Japanese royal family. He has chosen a woman, Haruko, as his narrator and does a remarkable job depicting her thoughts and feelings as she transitions from life as a commoner to that of the Empress of Japan. We are witness to her most private and painful moments. After all she has experienced, some of Haruko's actions are questionable. Although an attempt at redemption is made towards the end of the novel, there can be none.

One cannot help but feel pity for these characters whose every action is choreographed. Is life as a royal worth the price of one's freedom?

This was an enjoyable book and I recommend to those interested in historical fiction or Japanese culture.

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