By Megan Harlan
October 16, 1998 at 04:00 AM EDT

Namako: Sea Cucumber

B
type
  • Book
Genre

When her Japanese-American family abruptly moves to Tokyo, 10-year-old narrator Ellen is baffled by tatami mats, foreign script that resembles mysterious glyph waterfalls, and, most confoundingly, her ailing grandmother — a wealthy, eccentric Japanese matriarch who holds traditional expectations for Ellen. As Ellen immerses herself in new friendships at the local American School, the plot of Namako: Sea Cucumber starts to feel rice-paper thin, devolving into a series of coming-of-age vignettes. Fortunately, by the finale, first-time novelist Linda Watanabe McFerrin refocuses on the intriguing relationship between Ellen and her grandmother, exposing the family’s secrets, lies, and kami — a Shinto term for family spirits — with elemental clarity. B

Namako: Sea Cucumber

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  • Book
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author
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  • Namako: Sea Cucumber
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