Autumn Leaves: A Novel of Old Japan
At times I had a hard time following Pico Iyer's train of thought and I see that reflected in some of the reviews. I didn't understand his wife's misuse of the word "little" in so many of her quotes and it didn't seem to have any modifying definition within the sentence. That was a mystery to me.
I found myself alternating between being bored and feeling that Pi This book chronicled the changes and the unchanging impermanence of life through the lens of a season, autumn, in the Japanese culture. I found myself alternating between being bored and feeling that Pico Iyer nailed the eternal conflict of aging, fear, death and change within each of us. I also thought he used the word Autumn more than necessary to support the title of the book, but that's being petty, right? There is a sentence that I appreciated on page The last third of the book was the most interesting to me but in general, I expected to enjoy the book more than I did.
Iyer reminisces his first visit to Japan, when he met his wife Hiroko and the father-in-law, who shares vivid and touching details of the Second World War in which he fought and the devastation of his hometown, Hiroshima. The descriptions of the the little Japanese town, the maples, the changing seasons and the culture are so tempting and beautiful. The books leave you introspecting about the fragility of life, ageing and to cherish little things in life while they last.
May 08, Annette rated it really liked it Shelves: nonfiction. A good 3. Apr 22, Bob Peru rated it really liked it. May 05, Deborah rated it liked it. I liked this book, but I got lost sometimes. I enjoyed Iyer's musings about aging and liked learning a little about the Japanese culture. It was just difficult to follow his train of thought at times, especially when he recorded his wife's broken english.
Why did she use the word little so often? Apr 28, Richard Janzen rated it liked it. I have really enjoyed many of Iyer's books I find him to be insightful and globally minded.
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His views on culture and travel have had an impact on me especially in my young adult life. Lady and the Monk is one of my favourite books, and Iyer describes Autumn Light not so much as a sequel to that book, but like the autumn to that spring of that time. When I read Lady and the Monk, I was also in the spring of my adult life, and also spending time living in and soaking up Japan.
Now I am also fac I have really enjoyed many of Iyer's books Now I am also facing the issues and ruminations that are more closely associated with the autumn of my life. I think that I would also be happy spending the autumn of my life in Japan One small struggle was that just before reading this book, was criticism of Iyer living in Japan but being quite content with not learning Japanese and continuing to live outside of the some of the social expectations and obligations that regular Japanese would have.
And being kind of proud of not having to live in that world. It is one thing to feel that way when you live in Japan for 1 or 2 years as a young "irresponsible" adult, but it feels a bit different when you live there as a full-fledged adult for a couple of decades. The other weird feeling was reading the broken English ascribed to his wife, followed by his literate intelligent statements and thoughts So things I really liked about the book, and some misgivings Jun 03, Sanyukta Thakare rated it it was ok.
This may not have been the perfect read for me , but it could be for you. I have never been a fan of memoirs but this I choose to read in hope of its larger than life style of writing which a few pages in I regretted. The book starts with Pico finding out his father-in-law is unwell and by the time he lands in Japan for autumn the man has left for his journey out of our realm to another. However Pico who has been living in Japan for 32 years part time stays there in the season watching his wife This may not have been the perfect read for me , but it could be for you. However Pico who has been living in Japan for 32 years part time stays there in the season watching his wife move on.
While she does we find his mind hovering to her brother who left family bonds behind decades ago, his wife's daughter who he gains a connection with after so many years and the very interesting ping pong club and their colorful members that Pico describes with so much dedication. The book however leaves you unsure, even though the core of the book is very clear, as it talks about time passing, acceptance and the season of autumn most of the chapters and pages kept me wondering, asking more questions that were never answered.
And even after so many years Pico still comes off as someone watching it all unravel from the outside instead as a part of their lives. Shelves: japan , culture , asia , philo , non-fiction , nostalgia , bio-autobio-memoir. It is good to meet life sometimes; not by seeing it in the eye but by interlocking fingers and walking by its side. In this book, Pico Iyer finds himself undertaking such a walk, under the light-heavy shadows of autumn.
Twenty-five years after he first came to Japan as a year old, enthusiastic, US-based journalist, he is compelled to make an unplanned visit back. The reason? Death of his father-in-law. His wife, Hiroko, conveys this news over phone and Iyer finds himself back in the quiet, un It is good to meet life sometimes; not by seeing it in the eye but by interlocking fingers and walking by its side. His wife, Hiroko, conveys this news over phone and Iyer finds himself back in the quiet, unhurried neighbourhood of Nara. Dealing with loss can generate many projections. But in Japan, perhaps, it hovers over the sturdy base of impermanence, making the resultant image a parable of quiet agility and enviable acceptance.
Iyer is no stranger to this Japanese ethos, making it to this country every fall, for a quarter century now. What do we have to hold on to? Only the certainty that nothing will go according to design; our hopes are newly built wooden houses, sturdy until someone drops a cigarette or match. And there was no closure; just a delicate healing that descended on nerves that were hitherto unaware of their restlessness.
Florencia I'm so grateful for this review since it brought to my attention what it seems to be a truly thought-provoking book. Words that may bring solace and a I'm so grateful for this review since it brought to my attention what it seems to be a truly thought-provoking book. Words that may bring solace and allow us to move on.
The second quote you included has resonated with me on many levels. It's one of those ideas that one understands and considers truthful, and yet it's so difficult to put into practice. It's a wonderful thing that I can find these kinds of reviews to not only read a good book, but also be reminded of the essential aspects of life. Splendid write-up! Fionnuala I love your conclusion, Seemita! Jun 28, AM. Jun 20, Suju rated it really liked it. A lovely meditation on time, place, aging and the seasons of life and nature. I remember reading Pico Iyer's Video Night in Kathmandu years ago and the excitement of it was part of what gave me a lifelong travel bug.
This book turns that around and truly appreciates being in one place and finding the place that fits you and where you fit and that it's not always what you expect. Anglo Indian Iyer finds it in Japan with an unconventional Japanese wife and a lot of old, Japanese people, even as A lovely meditation on time, place, aging and the seasons of life and nature. Anglo Indian Iyer finds it in Japan with an unconventional Japanese wife and a lot of old, Japanese people, even as he spends large chunks of the year in Southern California with his own aging mother.
A quick, warm, pleasing read about the autumn of life. Jun 27, Jeanette rated it liked it. Very Japanese "eyes" to the impermanence of life and the physical world. But not utterly pessimistic in the telling. Not at all. It holds immense descriptive segments and reflects both the love of Japan and Japanese culture and his wife in particular that the author holds. Most of it is surely true, and applies to the most beautiful season of autumn.
And the autumn years of various outcomes. The contemplation, meditation ideal is held throughout the memoir too. It's also too self-absorbed and "les Very Japanese "eyes" to the impermanence of life and the physical world. It's also too self-absorbed and "less is more" and "least is best" for my taste. But I have never been a joiner and I also hold a much wider view of the individual and of individual worth as being high value. Jun 02, Brie rated it really liked it Shelves: won-in-contest , goodreads-first-reads.
I won this book in a Goodreads First Reads contest. It was an interesting read. The author used Japanese culture as a sort of springboard to meditate on the ideas of aging and death. Using Autumn as an idea to convey these ideas. It is not your traditional memoir and I admit at times I felt like I was unsure what was being spoken about as the author shifted time while talking about something he experienced. Still the book is a good, slow told, story Jun 24, patrice lester rated it it was amazing. This book drew me in page by page.
It is a story of loss; and, discovery. Seasons; and, connection. With Japan as the backdrop, this is both travelogue and narrative into family dynamics and how past history can thread its way into the present. It provides insight into another culture and the authors' artistry as he distills his observations into words makes this a joy to read. Jun 07, Robert Dixon-Kolar rated it it was amazing. Travel writer Pico Iyer's newest book Autumn Light is lovely--a blend of family memoir, cultural comparison, and spiritual meditation. In a Praise of Highly recommended. An outstanding book.
Spiritual, philosophical and artistic. A marriage of beauty, harmony and humility It can be read at many levels This is Pico at his best.
Zeljko Zic. Jun 24, Wendy Cosin rated it liked it Shelves: didn-t-finish , non-fiction. Seemed good, but I became distracted by other books. Jun 13, Sam rated it really liked it. This lyrical essay on life, seasons, and pleasures of daily routines will warm your heart! Lovely as ever by Pico. Jun 08, Gianfranco rated it liked it Shelves: japan. Reflections on the Autumn of life. Maybe it was the specific moment and space in time it caught me in, this book left me with a feeling of sorrow and sadness.
May 03, Yusuf Nasrullah rated it really liked it. A wonderful reflection on the fabric of life, intimacy, transience and the sad beauty of Autumn! Jun 06, Jazz Singh rated it it was amazing. Hauntingly beautiful! Jun 19, Magpie rated it it was amazing. Lyn bookclub May 13, Jerry Yudelson rated it really liked it. Very smooth writing. It really feels like you're in Japan.
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Jun 05, Judy rated it really liked it Shelves: non-fiction. This was a quiet, almost philosophical book with the setting in Japan in the autumn. There were parts of it that really spoke to me. Biography Memoir.
Autumn Leaves: A Novel of Old Japan i Apple Books
About Pico Iyer. Rikugien Garden is an Edo Period landscaped garden designed for strolling and has some of the capitals best fall colors. The gardens are open at night and illuminated during the peak season. The Chubu area of central Honshu includes the Japanese Alps in Nagano and Gifu prefectures and also parts of the Nakasendo Highway , nowadays a popular hiking route.
These mountain areas are perfect places to enjoy the autumn canvas. The Ena Gorge near Ena , a former post town on the Nakasendo can be enjoyed by cruise boat on minute tours. Hirugami Onsen and Tenryukyo Gorge not far from Iida in Nagano are both known for their autumn tapestries of colors. The historic town of Kiso Fukushima is the ideal base for hiking into the surrounding mountains to view the autumn leaves.
Karasawa Waterfall is a particularly lovely spot. Korankei draws visitors by car and bus from the nearby cities of Toyota and Nagoya. The trees line the river and the bridges and viewing spots can get congested on weekends. There are over 4, Japanese maple trees in the area and the pathways and bridges are illuminated at night during the leaf-viewing season.
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Narai is another former post town in the Kiso Valley and draws many tourists especially on weekends to view the leaves in an Edo Period setting. Kyoto is the jewel in the crown for refined appreciation of the autumn leaves in its immaculately kept temple gardens and shrines. On a sunny day the light glows through the small-leafed momiji maples on the hills over the river and in the area's many temples and shrines.
Eikando in the ancient capital's southern Higashiyama mountains close to Nanzenji is justly singled out for its maple trees and fall foliage. Kiyomizudera Temple draws the crowds year round but especially in the fall when visitors gaze down on a sea of red from the large veranda attached to the Main Hall. A personal favorite close to Shugakuin Rikyu also known for its leaves , the sloped entrance path from the main gate of Sekizanzenin is a delight in the fall.
Tenryuji is Arashiyama's most famous temple and known for the vivid reds of its momiji. Tofukuji Temple also allows visitors to gaze down on the maples in the ravine below from the Tsuten-kyo Bridge. West and south of Kyoto in the Kansai and Chugoku areas are a number of places to admire the seasonal change.
Extra buses are laid on during the season and the foliage is illuminated in the evening. Chomonkyo in Yamaguchi Prefecture in the deep south of Honshu, is a picturesque gorge through which the Chugoku Nature Trail runs. Gakuenji is the prime spot in Shimane Prefecture for fall colors.
Hori Garden , near Tsuwano , can be visited in any season. In autumn the hills surrounding the garden come alive with vivid colors. Koyasan in the hills of Wakayama Prefecture south of Osaka has earlier kouyou thanks to its altitude. Expect to see the leaves turn from late October. In Hiroshima city itself, Mitakidera is the best spot for the autumn pageant.
Mitakidera is so named as it has three waterfalls within its grounds. There are also buses to the temple from Hiroshima Station. Daisen in Tottori Prefecture near Yonago is part of the Daisen-Oki National Park and is known for its hiking and some "interesting" shrines. Miyajima Island , close to Hiroshima , is another place of choice for residents of the coastal city to view the year's momiji. Taishakukyo is a lovely gorge and lake in the mountains of Hiroshima Prefecture. The foliage on the sides of the gorge can be viewed by boat.