Blossoms and Shadows – an evening with author Lian Hearn

On 5 September, the Japan Society will host a discussion with internationally acclaimed author Lian Hearn at the Mayfair Library. The writer will be delving into her latest novel, Blossoms and Shadows, and the inspiration behind the story. Following the talk, the audience will be invited to take part in a question and answer session.

Blossoms and Shadows is a compelling tale of love and war, men and women, and the rise of modern Japan. It shines a brilliant light on a period of history that few have known about until now, though the changes it brought continue to this day.

The story begins in Japan, 1857. For centuries a country has stood alone; isolated by choice from the rest of the world. But the Western powers are now at its shores demanding to be let in, the government is crumbling and revolution is building. The age of the samurai is coming to an end and in its place a new Japan will be born. A young woman is readying herself for marriage in this, the most tumultuous period of the nation’s history. The daughter of a doctor, Tsuru has been working alongside her father and learning the ways of medicine all her life. When he allows her to marry the man she loves – a fellow doctor – she believes her life will be all she’s dreamed it could be.

But Japanese society does not work this way. The men of the times – boys she’s known since childhood – are determined to expel the foreigners, using violence and whatever else they can to make their message heard. The women are expected to stay hidden at home, or behind the paper walls of the tea houses. Tsuru struggles to accept this and she is drawn into a shadowy world of subversion, political intrigue and a dangerous love.

Lian Hearn studied modern languages at Oxford University and worked as a film critic and arts editor in London before settling in Australia. A lifelong interest in Japan led to the study of the Japanese language, many trips to Japan, and culminated in her writing Across the Nightingale Floor, an international bestseller. The book was the first in the Tales of the Otori series, which has sold over 4 million copies around the world.

Date: Wednesday 5 September 2012 (6.15pm)
Venue: The Mayfair Library, 25 South Audley Street, London W1K 2PB

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