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The Commoner

I recently finished reading The commoner by John Burnham Schwartz. The story is told from the point of view of a fictional doppelgänger for Empress Michiko of Japan, the book traces the story of how the first commoner to marry into the Japanese imperial family was, at the age of 24, exposed to brutal public scrutiny and the unyielding rigors of royal life, robbing her of her identity and sending her into a crushing depression.
So what should I start with? Good points? Or Bad points? Hmmm~ I'll start with what I didn't like. :)
What I first disliked about it when I started reading was the writing style. Sentences starting with "today" or "one time" were confusing sometimes because I couldn't figure out the timeline. Sometimes when the character talked about something, I didn't know if it already happened in the past or not. Also the story doesn't captivate you from the beginning, is somewhat cyclical, so I had to put some effort into finish it.
One of the good points was that it describes as detailed as possible the view of the commoners on the imperial family, horrors of war that struck Japan and the changes that occured after, the ritual of marriage, the responsabilities the royal family had, etc. Even if it's fictional, some things are taken from the reality and it offers a good view on Japan's culture and history. The love story is not that interesting from my point of view. Their love was forbidden and at the time a commoner entering the royal family was something unimaginable, but because of drastic changes that appeared due to the american occupation, this was about to change too.
All in all, the book is not bad, but it has minor flaws.

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Jean said...

there are so many japanese books translated into romanian...i want some korean books! >.< T-T

Lina said...

Sounds interesting! I want to read it too.

The odds into writing style might be because of translation. As I can see, the book is in romanian.

Andra said...

@jean: There is one. Dee bought it. but i can't remember the title or author now.

@lina: you may be right, but the original book is in english so i don't believe it's a major factor. :)

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