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Formats
Paperback Details
  • 10/2020
  • 978-0988939066
  • 242 pages
  • $14.99
Ebook Details
  • 10/2020
  • 9780988939073
  • 266 pages
  • $4.99
In the late 1960s, Neil Chase, a young man yearning to travel, risks everything to take a journey by freighter and see the world.  He arrives at a rural Japanese village famous for its pottery, but he soon realizes that things are not perfect in this seemingly idyllic spot.  The town and its residents hold secrets hidden for centuries, each with their own different cross to bear.  Chase falls in love with a beautiful potter's daughter who lives across the river; she too has a secret she's determined to hide.  As Chase learns the ceramic craft and becomes ever closer to the potter family, he discovers that even good intentions can be as destructive as bad ones, that it is easier to make mistakes than undo them, and that no voyage allows you to return unchanged.
Reviews
Bartlett’s stunning novel is a poignant, elegiac mid-20th-century tragedy of wanderlust, loss, obsession, art, and redemption. Neil Chase has been caring for his blind father since he was a teenager, while longing to travel to distant shores. In 1964, 20-something Neil falls in love with both Marinne, a kind French girl, and Japanese ceramics. Marinne, knowing Neil is still compelled to travel, offers to care for his father while he embarks on a yearlong voyage to Japan. A chain of unlikely events lead Neil to the hidden pottery town of Moon Island, where he feels a soul-deep connection to the landscape, the spectacular local celadon-glazed pottery, and the angry, beautiful Miyū, who makes the ceramics along with her father. As Neil learns their craft, he is drawn into their family’s tragic story, in which one act will irreversibly alter all their lives. Will Neil go back to what he was before?

Bartlett answers these looming questions with lyrical prose and an elegiac sensibility. He treats characters’ desires and griefs with delicacy; their sometimes dark impulses animate the pages with yearning, desolation, and fleeting moments of warmth. Neil Chase is a flawed, believable protagonist with a wry sense of humor and a passion for transcendent beauty.

Bartlett’s unhurried account of an imperfect world and its complex inhabitants will grip readers. This deeply affecting and well-constructed novel, with its memorable characters and evocative brilliance, will leave readers with a lingering sense of mournful beauty after they’ve turned the last page.

Takeaway: Literary fiction lovers will be swept away by Bartlett’s brilliant, passionate odyssey.

Great for fans of: John Boyne’s The Heart’s Invisible Furies, Kunzang Choden’s The Circle of Karma, Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things.

Production grades
Cover: A
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: A
Marketing copy: A

Formats
Paperback Details
  • 10/2020
  • 978-0988939066
  • 242 pages
  • $14.99
Ebook Details
  • 10/2020
  • 9780988939073
  • 266 pages
  • $4.99

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