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Remembrance of Blue Roses Paperback – March 31, 2016
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"Yorker Keith's Remembrance of Blue Roses is a slow-burning, passionate literary novel that speaks to the romantic in all of us. ... A precisely-written, well-crafted literary work that illuminates the many facets of love, obsession and, ultimately, redemption." --Chanticleer Book Reviews
"A gem of a novel, providing a deep and satisfying journey with flesh-and-blood characters, excellent writing that occasionally soars to memorable heights, and a fearless exploration of the complexity of falling in love with a person who, while irresistible and reciprocal, is also attached to a dear friend who deserves loyalty. Highly recommended!" -- The Columbia Review
"With themes of sacrifice and the search for beauty amid tragedy, this novel lingers in idealism." -- Foreword Reviews
"A deftly crafted, multi-layered, compelling read from beginning to end, Remembrance of Blue Roses establishes novelist Yorker Keith as an extraordinarily gifted storyteller." -- Midwest Book Review
"Readers who enjoy a sophisticated and well-written book about the complexity of human relationships will definitely enjoy Remembrance of Blue Roses." -- Readers' Favorite
Kirkus Reviews -- Remembrance of Blue Roses by Yorker Keith
A United Nations civil servant recalls his complicated bond with a German friend and his Japanese violinist wife in this debut novel.
Mark Graham Sanders, a divorced U.N. human resources officer in his mid-40s, has a "fortuitous encounter" in 1999 while sketching in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which leads to his experiencing "that misty line" between love and friendship. Specifically, he meets a professional violinist named Yukari, the wife of Hans, a U.N. economist colleague. Mark is immediately attracted to her, and she seems drawn to him; she soon admits to Mark that she was contemplating leaving her husband after discovering that he'd had an affair. Yet the marriage continues on, aided, oddly, by their friendship with Mark. The trio enjoys many evenings of music and culture together and even discovers that their families were acquainted generations ago. As a pledge to their friendship, Mark and Hans plant blue roses in the U.N. garden, which also reflect the color of a dress that Yukari wears. After one intoxicating evening, Hans and Yukari sleep over at Mark's apartment and conceive a child. The news of Yukari's pregnancy arrives, however, just as Hans, frustrated in his career, decides to go on assignment in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Mark gladly steps up to watch over Yukari, and the two grow ever closer. Then unexpected news comes from abroad, followed by the baby's birth, and then tragedy. Debut author Keith probes the many shades of love, honor, and friendship in this musing, elegiac narrative. First-person narrator Mark is engagingly flawed; over the course of the story, he comes to realize just how despicable he was to have divorced his first wife due to their failure to conceive a child. The novel is a bit overloaded with international details, however, even encompassing a very minor character's role in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The best scenes are those that focus on the main trio's dynamics, such as when Yukari makes love to Hans before whispering her love to Mark in the dark. Overall, it's an elegant debut.
A skillful tale that explores relationship nuances and redemption.
About the Author
Yorker Keith lives in Manhattan, New York City. He loves literature, theatre, classical music, opera, and art. He holds an MFA in creative writing from The New School. His literary works have been recognized four times in the William Faulkner - William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition as a finalist or a semifinalist.
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Top Customer Reviews
As the three friends grow closer, they discover their bond goes back several generations through their descendants, prompting Yukari to claim that destiny has brought them together. In tribute to this almost magical connection, the two men steal out to plant a rare variety of blue roses in the U.N. garden in Yukari’s honor.
In the meantime without warning, Yukari’s world is shattered when she learns of her husband’s infidelity. With a calm resolve, she takes Mark into her confidence, revealing her plan to divorce Hans. Mark’s loyalty to Hans pushes him to help the couple reconcile, and when Yukari becomes pregnant with Hans’ child, peace seems to return. But the quiet grace and gossamer vulnerability surrounding Yukari draws Mark in, like a moth to a bonfire. And when Hans’ quest for “meaning” in his life takes him to another continent, leaving Mark to care for Yukari during her pregnancy, tragedy beckons.
Set in the rich cultural backdrop of New York City, author Yorker Keith uses precise language and an insightful first-person narrative to explore the myriad facets of complex emotional relationships. A struggle of personal integrity allows his main character, Mark, to develop deeper levels of human understanding, to accept his own imperfections and rediscover himself while Han’s crisis of conscience forces him into a position of atonement. Yukari, like Madame Butterfly, spans the entire range of tragic, elegant love.
Yorker Keith’s "Remembrance of Blue Roses" is a slow-burning, passionate literary novel that speaks to the romantic in all of us.
I rarely pick up books that talk about relationship and the hardships that can occur in them.
Especially, if there might be talk of infidelity. I have a soft spot for this kind of stuff.
But, still, this book managed to make me overcome my hesitation and read it almost in one sitting!
The writing style of the author might have played a huge part to that, as it flowed so naturally, and I enjoyed so much the way everything was described, especially the stories of the characters' past, or their family stories.
I loved very much, that this book didn't follow a specific road, and didn't just include people from the same country.
On the contrary, only the protagonist, Mark, was an American. His friend Hans was German and his wife Yukari, Japanese.
Mark's ex-wife, Francine, was Swiss, and her second husband, Shem Tov, an Israeli.
There were also Filippinos!
I love multi-cultural novels. It is so rare to stumble upon one, though, that when I found out about this book, I couldn't grasp this opportunity fast enough!
The story became soon a little complex, but that didn't stop me from wanting to go on with it and learn much more about the characters in question!
I liked very much Mark's personality. I loved how much he wanted to be faithful to his friend Hans, even if Yukari was a constant temptation and distraction.
I also enjoyed very much the fact that his personality seemed to have grown so much since the years he was married to Francine and engaged to a high-school sweetheart of his, Jane.
All in all, 4 stars for an enjoyful multi-cultural novel,
that grasps the difficult matter of relationships nowadays.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
for a wonderful reading experience. Refreshing to have no fowl language.Read more