The Japanese Lover by Isabel Allende (Simon & Schuster, 2016)
Isabel Allende is another prolific writer on friendship. I haven’t yet read her latest book, Violeta (ISBN: 9781526648341, hardback, Bloomsbury Publishing, 2022) – though it’s been added to the ‘leaning bedside tower’. Instead, I want to recommend The Japanese Lover (ISBN: 9781471152191): a multi-generational, multi-cultural, multi-faceted love story. The story starts against the backdrop of the Second World War, when two young people meet, only to be pulled apart: Alma, a member of a wealthy San Francisco family, and Ichimei, the son of the family’s Japanese gardener. In this gentle and poignant portrait of a deep passion, we see them repeatedly reuniting over the years, but never truly allowed to be together.