I bought this book in Lisbon, in a second-hand book-store down Baixa Chaido (wonderful store, despite the majority of titles were in Portogues). This 1970 version has a stamp on the second page: British Embassy. I love second-hand books!
I was used to read Buck’s work when placed in China, but this short stories collection was a surprise to me. Actually, it doesn’t include only stories from far East, but also from author’s Birth nation, the United States. And she deepens above all the relationships between men and women, between lovers, between husbands and wives.
When stories take place in China, the most appealing feature is the transformation, the passage from the Past to the Future, with all consequences on people who do not manage to keep the pace.
I noticed that Buck often uses the same names for her carachters and I wonder if they are the same carachters in different stories or if she only meant to indicate general names, so to match them to very ordinary people.
For sure, two stories relate to the same environment and carachter: Ted and Etsu, an American soldier and the home girl in Japan. I liked them very much, because they show very clearly how understanding was difficult after Japanese defeat and during American occupation. It also shows how Japanese people acted in front of the enemy: without fighting, but trying to understand. Beside this, japanese also tryed to be respectful – and to obey their emperor, who told them to do what the former enemy would ask.
I have another Buck’s novel on my shelf, but it is about India… we’ll see if I will like it like the other ones.