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East Wind Melts the Ice: A Memoir through the Seasons / Edition 1

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Overview

Writing in luminous prose, Liza Dalby, acclaimed author of Geisha and The Tale of Murasaki, brings us this elegant and unique year’s journal— a brilliant mosaic that is at once a candid memoir, a gardener’s diary, and an enlightening excursion through cultures east and west. Structured according to the seasonal units of an ancient Chinese almanac, East Wind Melts the Ice is made up of 72 short chapters that can be read straight through or dipped into at random.
In the essays, Dalby transports us from her Berkeley garden to the streets of Kyoto, to Imperial China, to the sea cliffs of Northern California, and to points beyond. Throughout these journeys, Dalby weaves her memories of living in Japan and becoming the first and only non-Japanese geisha, her observations on the recurring phenomena of the natural world, and meditations on the cultural aesthetics of Japan, China, and California. She illuminates everyday life as well, in stories of keeping a pet butterfly, roasting rice cakes with her children, watching whales, and pampering worms to make compost.
In the manner of the Japanese personal poetic essay, this vibrant work comprises 72 windows on a life lived between cultures, and the result is a wonderfully engaging read.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"[Dalby has] the keen eye of a naturalist and fluent language of a poet, Dalby."--Southeast Review of Asian Stds
Southeast Review Of Asian Stds
“[Dalby has] the keen eye of a naturalist and fluent language of a poet, Dalby.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520259911
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 2/17/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 7.60 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Liza Dalby is an anthropologist specializing in Japanese culture. She was recently a consultant for Rob Marshall's film Memoirs of a Geisha.

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Table of Contents

preface maps of time

spring
1 . east wind melts the ice february 5 through 9

2 . dormant creatures start to twitch february 10 through 14

3 . fish swim upstream, breaking the ice february 15 through 19

4 . river otters sacrifice fish february 20 through 24

5 . wild geese head north february 25 through 28

6 . grasses and trees sprout march 1 through 5

7 . peach blossoms open march 6 through 10

8 . golden orioles sing march 11 through 15

9 . hawks become doves march 16 through 21

10 . swallows return march 22 through 26

11 . thunder sings march 27 through 31

12 . first lightning april 1 through 5

13 . paulownia blooms april 6 through 10

14 . moles become quails april 11 through 15

15 . rainbows appear april 16 through 21

16 . floating weeds appear april 22 through 26

17 . pigeons flap their wings april 27 through may 1

18 . the hoopoe alights in the mulberry may 2 through 6

summer

19 . little frogs peep may 7 through 11

20 . worms come forth may 12 through 16

21 . cucurbit flourishes may 17 through 21

22 . bitter herb grows tall may 22 through 26

23 . waving grasses wither may 27 through 31

24 . grain ripens june 1 through 5

25 . mantids hatch june 6 through 10

26 . the shrike begins to shriek june 11 through 15

27 . the mockingbird loses its voice june 16 through 20

28 . deer break antlers june 21 through 25

29 . cicadas sing june 26 through 30

30 . the crowdipper plant flourishes july 1 through 5

center

31 . hot winds arrive july 6 through 10

32 . crickets come into the walls july 11 through 15

33 . the hawk studies and learns july 16 through 20

34 . rotted weeds turn into fireflies july 21 through 25

35 . earth is steaming wet july 26 through 30

36 . great rains sweep through july 31 through august 5

fall

37 . cool wind arrives august 6 through 10

38 . white dew descends august 11 through 15

39 . the cold cicada chirps august 16 through 20

40 . the raptor sacrifices birds august 21 through 25

41 . heaven and earth turn strict august 26 through 30

42 . rice ripens august 31 through september 4

43 . wild geese come september 5 through 9

44 . swallows leave september 10 through 14

45 . flocks of birds gather grain september 15 through 20

46 . thunder pipes down september 21 through 25

47 . beetles wall up their burrows september 26 through 30

48 . waters dry up october 1 through 5

49 . wild geese come as guests october 6 through 10

50 . sparrows enter the water and turn into clams october 11 through 15

51 . chrysanthemums are tinged yellow october 16 through 21

52 . the wolf sacrifices the beasts october 22 through 26

53 . leaves turn yellow and fall october 27 through 31

54 . insects tuck themselves away november 1 through 5

55 . water begins to freeze november 6 through 10

56 . earth begins to freeze november 11 through 15

57 . pheasants enter the water and
turn into monster clams november 16 through 20

58 . rainbows hide november 21 through 25

59 . heaven’s essence rises; earth’s essence sinks november 26 through 30

60 . walled up and closed, winter takes hold december 1 through 5

61 . the copper pheasant is silent december 6 through 10

62 . the tiger begins to roam december 11 through 15

63 . garlic chives sprout december 16 through 20

64 . earthworms twist december 21 through 25

65 . elk break antlers december 26 through 30

66 . springwaters move december 31 through january 4

67 . wild geese return to their northern home january 5 through 9

68 . magpies nest january 10 through 14

69 . the pheasant cock calls its mate january 15 through 19

70 . pheasant hens brood january 20 through 24

71 . the vulture flies stern and swift january 25 through 29

72 . streams and marshes are frozen solid january 30 through february 4

appendix
seventy-two periods of the year in china, japan, and northern california
afterword acknowledgments index

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