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A Good Morning America Book Club Pick and New York Times Best Seller!
From debut author Asha Lemmie, “a lovely, heartrending story about love and loss, prejudice and pain, and the sometimes dangerous, always durable ties that link a family together.” (Kristin Hannah, number one New York Times best-selling author of The Nightingale)
Kyoto, Japan, 1948. “Do not question. Do not fight. Do not resist."
Such is eight-year-old Noriko “Nori” Kamiza’s first lesson. She will not question why her mother abandoned her with only these final words. She will not fight her confinement to the attic of her grandparents’ imperial estate. And she will not resist the scalding chemical baths she receives daily to lighten her skin.
The child of a married Japanese aristocrat and her African American GI lover, Nori is an outsider from birth. Her grandparents take her in, only to conceal her, fearful of a stain on the royal pedigree that they are desperate to uphold in a changing Japan. Obedient to a fault, Nori accepts her solitary life, despite her natural intellect and curiosity. But when chance brings her older half-brother, Akira, to the estate that is his inheritance and destiny, Nori finds in him an unlikely ally with whom she forms a powerful bond - a bond their formidable grandparents cannot allow and that will irrevocably change the lives they were always meant to lead. Because now that Nori has glimpsed a world in which perhaps there is a place for her after all, she is ready to fight to be a part of it - a battle that just might cost her everything.
Spanning decades and continents, Fifty Words for Rain is a dazzling epic about the ties that bind, the ties that give you strength, and what it means to be free.
What the critics say
"This virtuosic debut enthralled me from the very first page. Lemmie's compelling and compassionate portrait of a young girl in post-WWII Japan is meticulously researched and beautifully crafted. What a heartbreaking, exceptional story by a sublime talent - I can't wait to see what she does next!" (Fiona Davis, nationally best-selling author of The Lions of Fifth Avenue)
"Fifty Words for Rain is an impressive debut novel about a mixed-race girl growing up in post WWII Japan. Sensitive and bristling with closely-observed humanity, Asha Lemmie tells a story that we have not heard before with an ending that is as surprising as it is brutally honest." (Mark Sullivan, best-selling author of Beneath a Scarlet Sky)
"Asha Lemmie's debut novel Fifty Words for Rain follows eight-year-old Nori after she is abandoned by her mother and left to fend for herself in the unkind graces of a family built on tradition and power. Lemmie has penned an impassioned story that confronts the uncomfortable truths behind institutionalized prejudice and the history of violence and subjugation of the powerless by those on the highest rungs of society. It’s an emotional journey with an unexpected ending." (Mary Lynn Bracht, author of White Chrysanthemum)
What listeners say about Fifty Words for RainAverage Customer Ratings
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Bad narration. Quite irritating voices. Depressing story.
Was there no one else available to be the voice of the main character as well as several others that were clearly not aligned with the character?
Several of the decisions made by the main character seemed so forced or off from what you’d think she would do particularly at the ending.
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