I waited a lot to read this book. More than the reference to Japan and Japanese culture and the Jewish family story, I wanted back into my life the wonderful story telling by Isabel Allende.
And for one thing, I was not disappointed: there is a story told well and this is why I kept reading the book till the end. More than being a book about an old love story, it is a book about getting old and how past can keep being part of our present indefinitely.
The story is made of different little stories that do not go smoothly together. In fact, it made me more curious to find out more about: Irina/Elisabeta story, the child victim of sexual aggression, with an alcoholic mother from Moldova ending up together - platonically until the end of the story - with the grandson of Alma; the love story between Alma and Ichimei; the story of Alma and Nathaniel, her gay husband she married when she got pregnant with Ichimei, the son of the Japanese garden; Alma's brother story during and after the war. Strangely, it is not too much to say about the story of Alma's parents who died in Poland during the war and this make the story at least clumsy, compared to the usual stories with such an element. We found a lot in exchange about the Japanese internment camps during the War in America that, however, cannot be compared with the ghettos and camps anwhere in Europe.
When it comes to the Jewish background of Alma or the Bellasco family in general, there is nothing to say and the story file is almost empty.
Overall, I was a bit disappointed but will still wait for reading new books by Allende, an author with an addictive storytelling strength.
Rating: 3 stars