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Sophie And The Rising Sun (2002)

Sophie and the Rising Sun (2002)

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3.59 of 5 Votes: 1
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0452283493 (ISBN13: 9780452283497)

About book Sophie And The Rising Sun (2002)

I was excited to see an Asian male/white female (amwf, as it’s known online) story pop up on Netgalley. They can be hard to find, and I thought the dual extra setting of the racist rural south and WWII would make it more interesting. I still don’t doubt that these positive things are what the author was going for, but it didn’t quite come through for me in the story.Trobaugh picked an interesting writing structure that I found worked well for the story. It’s a mix of an elderly Miss Anne relating her part of the story of what she saw occur between Sophie and Mr. Oto and an omniscient third person narration. There were also some truly beautiful sequences in the book.I am disappointed then that I felt the story itself didn’t live up to the writing. Trobaugh falls prey to some stereotyping tropes.In spite of falling for a white woman, everything else about Mr. Oto is stereotype 101 for Asian-American men. He is: quiet, reserved, effeminate, painfully polite, and bows all the time. The bowing really bothered me, because Mr. Oto was born in America to first generation immigrant parents. I don’t know any first generation Americans who hold on to societal norms from their parents’ country around anyone but their family.The other minority character is “Big Sally.” She is, surprise surprise, domestic help. Anyone who was here for The Real Help Reading Project will be aware of all the stereotypes surrounding black women domestic workers. The main one being of course that they’re happy to be the help and will gladly help out white women who are kind to them with their problems. Kind of the all-knowing wise woman who just so happens to scrub your floors. I was truly saddened to see Sally show up and play this role to a T.Overall then, Trobaugh can indeed write. The book was highly readable and contains some eloquent passages. In spite of attempting a progressive message, though, the book falls to the easier method of plugging in a couple of stereotyped, two-dimensional characters. I hope in future works Trobaugh will put more work into developing truly three-dimensional minority characters. This will strengthen her work and make it more than just a piece of chick lit repeating the same old tropes.Check out my full review. (Link will be live July 12, 2012).Note: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

delicate as a paper craneSimply, yet beautifully, written and poignant, Sophie and the Rising Sun — a narrative, in the plaintive voice of various characters — takes place in a sleepy southern town in Georgia.Sophie, a refined southern lady and middle-aged spinster, finds she has depleted her “young and beautiful years” caring for her elderly mother and aunts, after her beau, Henry, never returned from WWI. Finds herself quite resigned to the idea of never finding love at her age, Sophie, finds solace in painting by the town’s beautiful river, and meeting with her dear friend Miss Anne — that is, until Grover Oto moves into town, under mysterious circumstances.Gentlemanly and kind, Mr. Oto, an American-born man of Japanese decent, is soon commissioned as Miss Anne’s gardener. Despite being limited to mere greetings in passing, Oto and Sophie form a suppressed friendship. Discovering they both share a passion for creating art, they meet weekly at the river, painting in comfortable silence as their connection to each other flourishes. However, between the antics of Ruth - the prejudiced town meddler - and the rigid racial and social structure of the time, it is almost guaranteed that the unconventional duo of Sophie and Mr. Oto will be expected to keep a formal distance. Forced into hiding from the enraged townsfolk, after the Pearl Harbour bombing, Oto experiences the full consequences of the attack, as Sophie and Miss Anne courageously support him. Will he and Sophie ever be able to realize their true feelings for each other, in a society that is so obstinate regarding their cultural differences?Through the words and reactions of her characters, the author offers a unique perspective of the events at Pearl Harbor. In its own way, the entire substance of the novel serves as a social commentary on the war’s psychological fall-out — including the malicious treatment (thinly veiled as patriotism) of Japanese immigrants, American citizens, living in United States.And yet, the elegiac cadences of Trobaugh’s prose, coupled with her tender imagery and ambiance, adds an emotional richness to this touching account. Lovely for a light, but unforgettable, weekend read, Sophie and the Rising Sun is highly recommended.

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3.5 Mr Otto is a middle aged man of Japanese ethnicity,although he was born in California and considers himself an American. Sophie is a middle aged spinster, having taken care of her mother and than her elderly aunts, and losing her first love in World War I. Taking place in a small town in Georgia, this is not a passionate love affair but a rather elegant one as is the writing in this novel. When Pearl Harbor is bombed all the small town stereotypes as well as the usual prejudices come into play. There are some wonderful characters in this novel and of course a town troublemaker, who has been causing Sophie trouble most of her life. This is a novel that is simply written but contains beautiful language and images. It is also about looking at a person beneath the surface, which a few amazing women in this town mange to do. It is about second chances and having the courage to form ones own opinions and the willingness and courage to grasp a future.
—Diane S.✨

From the book cover: "In sleepy Salt Creek, Georgia, strangers are rare. When a quiet unassuming stranger arrives ��� a Japanese man with a secret history of his own ��� he becomes the talk of the town and a new beginning for a lonely Sophie, who lost her first love during World War I."It looks like "Sophie and the Rising Sun," originally published more than 10 years ago, has been re-issued by its publisher in anticipation of a new novel from Trobaugh. I'll be interested to see what I think of this new book, "Music from Beyond the Moon," because I felt like "Sophie" held so much unrealized promise. Maybe her new book, 10 years on in writing growth and maturity, will be stronger.For me, "Sophie" doesn't deliver. It is a wonderful story, and the characters seem well-drawn, but it simply didn't pull me in ��� and that's not a good thing when the author is presenting a tale of love and prejudice wrapped inside the stifling insularity of life in a small town. The bones are there; I have to wonder whether a stronger editor might have pushed this tale from ordinary to wonderful.
—Priscilla Melchior

Wanted a bit more development in the relationship between Sophie and Mr. Oto. Also, I felt like I missed out a lot of Sophie's life before Mr. Oto came into the picture. The author went into quite some detail about Sophie's younger years, but then there wasn't so much in the years after her aunts and mother died. There was even less about Mr. Oto's life. Wanted to now more about the mystery of Sophie's past relationship and also Mr. Oto's past relationship.There was some nice imagery in places.I didn't have much feeling for Sophie or for Mr. Oto. The strongest feeling I had during the book was a horrible dislike for the Miss Ruth. I had to work through this book because I just wasn't feeling the relationship.

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