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Set in turn of the century Japan in the world of the Noh theater, and in Paris during the heady days when French Impressionism was the avant-garde, this heartbreaking, beautifully written novel tells of a young Japanese artist who sacrifices everything: family, love and wealth for his art. A Master Noh mask carver dedicates his life to his art, turning his back on love after a series of tragic events leaves him devastated. Kiyoki, his only son, defies his father and the demands of cultural tradition to follow his dream of becoming a painter in the western style. Kiyoki journeys to Paris, where he lives the life of an exile, unable to break the bonds of tradition, until he finds his heart leads him back to Japan, where he at last discovers himself as an artist.
While at college, Alyson Richman won a fellowship which enabled her to research four Japanese Meiji artists who studied Western painting in Europe. Kiyoki is based on the experiences of these men. The Mask Carver's Son is her first novel. She lives in Long Island City with her husband.
Table of Contents
"A meticulous profile of a man struggling against his native culture, his family and his own sense of responsibility. [Richman's] knowledge of Japanese political and artistic history is evident, adding nuance and depth to Kiyoki's sad story of rebellion." --New York Times Book Review
"Recalls Arthur Golden's Memoirs of a Geisha...Her sense of Japanese culture is subtle and nuanced." --San Francisco Examiner & Chronicle
"The Mask Carver's Son is a long, succulent glide through two cultures." --Bookforum