May 21, 2013

The Gods of Heavenly Punishment by Jennifer Cody Epstein



Publisher: W.W. Norton & Company
Publication Date: March 2013
Categories: WWII, Historical Fiction, Japan

Description:
A lush, exquisitely-rendered meditation on war,The God of Heavenly Punishment tells the story of several families, American and Japanese, their loves and infidelities, their dreams and losses, and how they are all connected by one of the most devastating acts of war in human history.
In 1935, Yoshi Kobayashi is the six-year-old daughter of a sophisticated, iconoclastic mother and an unread, nationalistic father. Years later, as a teen in Manchuria, she witnesses, first-hand, the harsh realities Japan’s expansionist dreams—even as she discovers the first blush of love. During the worst days of the war in Tokyo, Yoshi balances school work with ration lines—even while caring for her mother whose rebellious spirit has been brutally broken by the men who wage war. Then, one March night, Yoshi’s world is finally consumed by flame when hundreds of American B-29’s scorch the night sky, showering napalm down upon her city. Left alone among the ruins, Yoshi’s fate will now depend on her will to live and the unlikely intersections with three men whom she’d have once considered “enemies”: a downed American bomber pilot, a Hungarian-born architect, and an Occupying Forces intelligence officer with his own damning secret.
My Thoughts:

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Learning new things is my favorite part about reading. This book opened my eyes to the events in Japan both before and after WWII. The Gods of Heavenly Punishment is  told from the point of view of a young Japanese girl, certainly like nothing I've read before.

The characters lives are interconnected in interesting, yet plausible, ways. The men and women that people this story are convincing and genuine. Days after reading this I can't stop thinking of them.

This book offers an unflinching look at the horrors of war. You'll find yourself holding your breath during the firebombing of Tokyo. Cody Epstein doesn't focus on the atrocities as much as on the relationships between people devastated by the events.

Ambitious and breathtaking, The Gods of Heavenly Punishment is not to be missed.

Jennifer Cody Epstein is the author of The Gods of Heavenly Punishment and the international bestseller The Painter from Shanghai. She has written for The Wall Street Journal, The Asian Wall Street Journal, Self, Mademoiselle and NBC, and has worked in Hong Kong, Japan and Bangkok, Thailand.
Jennifer lives in Brooklyn, NY with her husband, two daughters and especially needy Springer Spaniel.
To connect with Jennifer, “like” her on Facebook.


To visit the other stops on this tour please visit TLC Book Tours.

32 comments:

  1. I love it when fictional novels open my eyes to a part of history I know little about. This is definitely going on my list!

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    1. Me too Kelly, it's my favorite. I hope you find time for this one!

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    2. Me three, adding this to the TBR pile!

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    3. Woot woot! I'm glad to hear it Monika!

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  2. This one looks really good. Thanks for the heads up!

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  3. I'm gonna be reading this in a couple of days and I can't wait!

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    1. I hope you enjoy it Claire :) Thanks for visiting!

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  4. I'm taking part in a blog tour for this book too, I was excited about it as soon as I got the email and I'm even more excited now!

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  5. Learning is my favourite part of reading too, so for you saying that about this book, and the book sounding good anyway, I'll have to look into getting a copy.

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  6. you too with this book? I knew I missed out on a good one. Heart wrenching but an important aspect of history that should be explored.

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    1. Ha! You've been seeing it around lately I take it? ;) Get yourself a copy Jen, you won't regret it

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  7. I've seen The Gods of Heavenly Punishment around blogland and it sounds like a good one. Learning while reading is the best :) I love a book that leaves you thinking about it long after you've finished reading. Great post!

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    1. Thanks Naida~ I didn't know nearly enough about Japan during WWII. I tend to read more about things from the American side of that war.

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  8. I think I would love this. I've read quite a few war-driven historical fiction this year. I always find it an eye-opener.

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  9. Seriously, I just love books about other cultures! Adding this one to my list!

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    1. You will completely love this one then Rebecca :)

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  10. Learning new things, especially about other cultures, is one of my favorite parts about reading, too! This book sounds right up my alley, Jennifer!

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    1. If those are your things you will adore this book :) Thanks for visiting!

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  11. There are so many books about Europe during WWII. It's always nice to see a book that give us a different part of the story!

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    1. That's exactly what I thought Lindsey. It was a fresh point of view :)

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  12. I LOVE learning from my historical fiction! It's part of the reason it's among my favorite genres :). Sounds like a good one!

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  13. Oh my, that fire bombing part was so well written, but the whole book really was. I'm looking forward to reading more of Epstein's work.

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    1. Wasn't it?? :D She has another book out, The Painter from Shanghai. I'm going to have to read that too.

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  14. I almost picked this book form NetGalley to read. Sounds like I should have. I'm like you in that I love to learn while reading!

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    1. I wonder if it's still available? Go check, quick! :)

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  15. I'm like you - I LOVE learning while a read. I think I'll enjoy learning from this book!

    Thanks for being on the tour.

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