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The Commoner
     

The Commoner

3.7 40
by John Burnham Schwartz
 

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In this national bestseller from the author of Reservation Road, a young woman, Haruko, becomes the first nonaristocratic woman to penetrate the Japanese monarchy.

When she marries the Crown Prince of Japan in 1959, Haruko is met with cruelty and suspicion by the Empress, and controlled at every turn as she tries to navigate this mysterious,

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Commoner 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 39 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Ahhhh, Mr. Schwartz, I thank you with all my heart for presenting this story to us. Though it must be written as 'fiction' you were still able to get deep within the family's daily lives to give us momentary close-up views. Yet, with all that you were able to give, I wanted so much more. For instance, I was so fascinated to read the details of the marriage ceremony. Yet, I felt like I was being rushed through it. It's hard not to compare this with book with 'Memoirs of a Geisha', because it too presents a male author of a female narrator. With that in mind, it comes up short and disappointing.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book through chapter 23. The action had been a little slow-moving until then, but this was acceptable since the relationships between the protagonist and her parents were so endearing, and the transition from childhood self to adult life made for an interesting read. But even after the metamorphosis was complete, the book was far from over. Almost the entire latter half of the novel is spent describing the mundane drivel of the Empress's bleak life. Other than the rising action that finally saved the closing few chapters of the book, the most positive thing I can say about the second half is that I felt that I could emphasize with a bored main character when I myself felt jaded.
BookWorm42NJ More than 1 year ago
I was impressed that the author made me forget he was a man writing from a woman's point of view, but there were only a few sympathetic characters in the story - and the ending seemed completely improbable.
Guest More than 1 year ago
sixty pages in, and i'm bored out of my mind. i could take another story about a repressed asian woman, just not one that moves as slow as this one. i am putting it down, with some regret, but life's too short!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book but would have liked more character development and a deeper sense of place. Considering the subject, though -- situations nearly unconscionable to Westerners, and telling a story that continues to play out within the Japanese Imperial family -- maybe this was difficult. I admired Mr. Schwartz's ability to identify with and 'speak for' a female narrator. Want to read his other books.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Thought the book was interesting but since the author published as a fiction thought he would go a little more into the reasons why there seems to be so many problems for the Japanese females who enter the Royal Household. A little bit of a hint of what might be going on behind the royal chambers, but not much of the interplay between the characters. Japanese mother-in-laws are notorious for their mistreatment of daughter-in-laws. The book gives a little taste of the verbal and psychological abuse that may be occuring but it would have been a more interesting book if the author put a little spin and developed that relationshop a little more in the book. The end was a little bit of a twist, but in today's society it does not seem very realistic.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This novel is touching, and heart wrenching at the same time. It is beautifully written, and wonderful.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Truly the best book I have ever read. Period.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This author crafted this narrative of prose as if creating a masterpiece of art. This is truly a subtle work of art with the use of words to intrigue the reader, to entice the reader to feel the characters in the book. I definitely recommend this as a must read.
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USCGGA More than 1 year ago
A great read.
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