I’m on another tour, and today’s is for the paperback release of Jennifer Cody Epstein’s The Gods of Heavenly Punishment (on Monday)!
About Jennifer Cody Epstein:
Jennifer Cody Epstein is the author of The Gods of Heavenly Punishment and the international bestseller The Painter from Shanghai. She has written for The Wall Street Journal, The Asian Wall Street Journal, Self, Mademoiselle and NBC, and has worked in Hong Kong, Japan and Bangkok, Thailand. She lives in Brooklyn, NY with her husband, two daughters and especially needy Springer Spaniel.
About The Gods of Heavenly Punishment:
One summer night in prewar Japan, eleven-year-old Billy Reynolds takes snapshots at his parent’s dinner party. That same evening his father Anton–a prominent American architect–begins a torrid affair with the wife of his master carpenter. A world away in New York, Cameron Richards rides a Ferris Wheel with his sweetheart and dreams about flying a plane. Though seemingly disparate moments, they will all draw together to shape the fate of a young girl caught in the midst of one of WWII’s most horrific events–the 1945 firebombing of Tokyo.
Exquisitely-rendered, The Gods of Heavenly Punishment tells the stories of families on both sides of the Pacific: their loves and infidelities, their dreams and losses–and their shared connection to one of the most devastating acts of war in human history.
Title: The Gods of Heavenly Punishment
Author: Jennifer Cody Epstein
ARC: 325 pages
Publisher: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2014
Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon, The Book Depository
Source: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.
The Gods of Heavenly Punishment is a war-time story told from multiple points of view. Billy Reynolds grew up in Tokyo, his father an American architect who designed several of the buildings in the growing metropolis. He’s not as rough and tumble a boy as his father would like, earning him a lot of verbal reprimands (some would probably even say abuse).
Yoshi Kobayashi’s father was a master carpenter before Imperial fervor brought him to Manchuria, leaving Yoshi and her mother in Tokyo. Yoshi’s mother Hana doesn’t deal with the abandonment well, forcing Yoshi to grow up before her years. But Yoshi doesn’t mind too much, she’s fallen for one of her father’s apprentices, whom she met while visiting him in Manchuria.
The story is told in layers; we first meet the main players, including the pilot of one of the bombers. Then we see their lives – their hopes and dreams, fears and regrets, their humanity. Then the bombs fall, and we see the aftermath on these fragile lives.
I really enjoyed the storytelling and the characters but like The Kept, this is one to read in stages. Epstein tugs our emotions all over the board, swinging from innocent childhood dreams to grown-up regrets and fears, from love to hate and overwhelming despair, and eventually to hope. Definitely a good start to 2014 reading.
drey’s rating: Excellent!
Have you read The Gods of Heavenly Punishment? What did you think? And if you haven’t, read on to win your own copy!
Thanks to the publisher, I have one paperback copy of The Gods of Heavenly Punishment for you. This one’s open INTERNATIONALLY! To enter, fill out the form below before January 24th. Good luck!