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The Ginger Tree Paperback – May 28, 2002


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Product Details

  • Series: Perennial Classics
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial Modern Classics; Reprint edition (May 28, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060959673
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060959678
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #281,290 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Wonderful" (New York Times)

"Marvelous" (-- The Spectator (London))

"Ripping Yarn" (-- Daily Record (Scotland))

“One of the few contemporary novels to show Japan as it was and is.” (—Japan Times)

About the Author

Oswald Wynd (1913-1998) was born in Tokyo to Scottish missionaries and spent his formative years in Japan. He attended the University of Edinburgh and joined the Scots Guards in 1939. During World War II, Wynd spent three years as a Japanese prisoner of war; it was at this time that he began to write seriously. He is the author of many novels including The Blazing Air and Death the Red Flower. Under the pseudonym Gavin Black, Wynd wrote many well-received thrillers. He died in Scotland.

Customer Reviews

Fascinating story, historic China, Japan.
BDS
This very fascinating book is a story written in the form of numerous letters and personal diary entries made by the principle character of the book.
Rusty Chang
It is easy to say, "This is one of the best books I ever read!"
Willie

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

44 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Rusty Chang on January 28, 2004
Format: Paperback
This very fascinating book is a story written in the form of numerous letters and personal diary entries made by the principle character of the book. It chronicals the life of a young Scottish woman forced to live first in China then Japan. Well written and historically accurate, it's obvious the author is intimately familiar with the the culture, customs, history and life style of Japan. This makes the book that much more interesting and fascinating for those who enjoy realism and demand accuracy in a story. For all who've ever lived in Japan, it's a believable tale that literally makes you feel you've stepped back in a time machine to witness the birth of modern Japan. For those who haven't lived in Japan, believe that the author has done his homework and is not simply just creating a fictional setting in his mind. Because of this, he's able to focus on his character versus scene/setting development and thus creates a living breathing person in your mind. The timespan covers over 40 years as the story weaves through her trials and tribulations, and shows how her fortitude and strength serve her through tumultuous events in her life. A gripping tale that draws on your emotions and has you constantly rooting for her. When the last page is read it leaves you wishing the story would continue, but even good books must end. Be prepared to sit a spell. Once you start reading you'll find it hard to put down.
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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 5, 2002
Format: Paperback
The Ginger Tree is a captivating, completely believable life story of a woman who grows from a sheltered childhood to wisdom and success in a foreign country. It is told entirely from her point of view through the device of letters and journal entries. Spanning two world wars and encompassing the upheaval experienced in Asia by European imperialism, the story is puntuated by many recognizable historical events viewed from a fascinating perspective.
This book is not the type of story I would normally have expected to like, my wife referring to it as a "triumph of the human spirit," which is her code for: "no car chases or explosions -- you won't like it." But once I started it, I could not stop, and now that I have finished, I wish there was more. I recommend it strongly.
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Kate I. Schaumann on August 1, 2005
Format: Paperback
I won't bore readers with recounting the plot which is adequatly covered in many of the other reviews here. What I want to add is that this is the most well written book that I have ever read. Mary's character is probably the most well drawn of any story. She is believeable because she is flawed, as we all are. If you want an understanding of the culture of pre war Japan from a western perspective, both the good and the bad,you can't beat this book. I have read it five times and will probably read it many more times in the next 20 years. There have been few other books that made such an impression on me. Maybe the Landbreaker series by John Ehle.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By K. Maxwell on December 30, 2006
Format: Paperback
This novel, written as journal entries and letters, starts in 1903 with a young and naive Miss Mary Mackenzie sailing to China with her chaperone to meet her fiance in Peking where she is to be married. There she will make a choice which will change the course of her life from anything she might have expected it to be.

This is a rather bitter-sweet story. It is very well written and gives a great sense of the changes in Asia from 1903 to 1942. Mary is an extremely believable character who must make her away alone, an exile, in what is essentially a man's world - and an alien one at that. This is not a romance novel and doesn't follow a predictable route to the story conclusion, and yet it is haunting in its way if you follow the story to its end. If you like a well written historical novel that is set in the 20th century then this is a book you should pick up, especially as the authors own background in the east means it is full of real details and great feeling for life in China and Japan.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By A. Warrick on February 2, 2007
Format: Paperback
I love this book - so much so that when my old worn copy was misplaced, I immediately bought another; this Perennial Classics Edition. I recommended it to my friends as well. I would recommend this book to anyone - the story, told in the form of diary entries and letters, is captivating.

But beware! Every copy of this book that we purchased (me and my two friends), has pages scrambled in the middle. I explained the problem to Amazon.com, and was sent another copy with the same mis-ordered pages. It is clearly a printing issue that runs through this edition. Buy a used copy, buy from a different publisher, but don't buy this particular edition, Perennial Classics by Harper Collins.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Tara Chklovski on January 21, 2004
Format: Paperback
This is a little known book and I was very pleasantly surprised to find it very well written with an engaging story. The main character might have been based on the author's grandmother who also went to japan and spent some years there.
Mary Mackenzie is brought out beautifully and despite her transgressions, you never judge her. She is an extremely strong woman and its very inspiring to read of her struggles and her victories.
The descriptions of China and Japan are breathtaking, making the reader long to visit the same places. Great read all in all.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 13, 1998
Format: Paperback
The Ginger Tree is one of those books I will read periodically throughout life. It is the story of a young woman who gives up all security in a world not very tolerant of those who choose their own path. Everyone who has ever experienced a burning, passionate, unattainable love will feel akin to Mary McKenzie. Those who have lost things most precious will sympathize greatly. Mary is a real human being, one to be greatly admired for her accomplishments against great odds, as well as for those things not accomplished.
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