Lifestyle/Entertainment Editor, Asia, Tokyo
Elaine's Feed
Oct 20, 2011

Photographs of Kennedy funeral train inspire novel

TOKYO (Reuters) – Women brought flowers, people fell to their knees in anguish, young mothers held babies on their hips as Robert F. Kennedy’s funeral train passed. A boys’ baseball team, all in uniform, stood with their caps over their hearts.

These images, in photographs taken from the train that carried Kennedy’s body from New York to Washington after his June 1968 assassination, fascinated David Rowell so much that he used them as inspiration for “The Train of Small Mercies,” a novel that chronicles the day of the journey through the lives of several characters drawn from the photos.

Oct 19, 2011

Child mistreatment fuels novel of isolated teen

TOKYO, Oct XX (Reuters) – Roland Merullo had largely
forgotten the disturbing sight of a small child being mistreated
by his mother outside a store in rural New England — until the
memory welled up some twenty-five years later to help fuel the
novel he was writing.

That sort of abusive parenting, which Merullo likened to the
power of a dictator, underlies much of “The Talk-Funny Girl,”
the story of teenaged Marjorie and her struggles to escape from
the bleak life forced on her by her isolated parents, who are
falling more deeping under the influence of a sadistic cult
leader.

Oct 18, 2011

West Japan challenges Tokyo’s tasty Michelin crown

TOKYO (Reuters) – Western Japan challenged Tokyo on Tuesday for its status as the global center of gourmet dining, with the Michelin guide awarding area restaurants more of the coveted three-star ratings than those given to establishments in the capital.

A total of 15 restaurants in the Kansai area, which centers on Japan’s second-largest city of Osaka and the ancient capital of Kyoto, were awarded top three-star ratings, three more than last year and one more than Tokyo was given.

Oct 13, 2011

Book Talk: Lawyer says profession helps her write novels

TOKYO (Reuters) – A diplomat and lawyer before fulfilling a long-held dream of writing novels, Pam Jenoff says that being a lawyer has helped her write better fiction — even though none of her books, up to now, has set foot in a courtroom.

But her latest, “The Things We Cherished,” combines a look at Jewish history up to and during World War Two with the trial of an elderly man accused of war crimes who maintains that proof of his innocence is in an elaborate clock last seen in Nazi Germany.

Oct 6, 2011

Book Talk: Unexpected ghosts a change for Chris Bohjalian

TOKYO, Oct 6 (Reuters) – When Chris Bohjalian set out to
write his latest novel, he knew it would involve ghosts but
expected them to be metaphorical. But the spooks had a mind of
their own — and became real.

That sort of authorial adventure is nothing new for
Bohjalian, who in “The Night Strangers” follows airline pilot
Chip Linton, and his wife and twin 10-year-old daughters, after
they move to New Hampshire in the wake of a fatal accident with
a plane that Linton flew, chronicling in vivid detail the
family’s slow unravelling.

Sep 27, 2011

Tale of rescued champion horse has timeless message

TOKYO, Sept 27 (Reuters) – On a bleak winter’s afternoon in
1956, riding instructor Harry de Leyer arrived so late at a
horse auction that the only animals left were the “kills” — a
rag-tag group of horses bound for the slaughterhouse.

Unwilling to waste the long drive, de Leyer glanced through
the group of animals and had his eye caught by one dingy,
grayish-white former plough horse, in whose eyes he thought he
saw a spark of life. Wondering if he was being a sucker, he paid
$80 he could barely afford and took the horse home.

Sep 22, 2011

Book Talk: Haunting image of lighthouse inspires thriller

TOKYO, Sept 22 (Reuters) – Michael Koryta was working on a
completely different book when he became haunted by the image of
a lighthouse built in the woods, despite the fact that he didn’t
have a story for it.

But the image persisted, eventually leading Koryta through
numerous drafts to the book that became “The Ridge,” a
supernatural thriller that mixes elements of folklore with
reality to create a Midwestern ghost story.

Sep 21, 2011

Exile sheds new light on home for Somali author

TOKYO (Reuters) – For Somali native Nuruddin Farah, the author of 11 novels, exile — with all its pain — has enabled him to turn storytelling into an art form, distilling the complications of his tortured homeland into something people understand.

His latest book, “Crossbones”, is the final volume of a trilogy and follows Malik, a half-Somali war correspondent based in New York, as he arrives in Somalia in 2006 to a precarious calm just days before Ethiopia invades the country.

Sep 21, 2011

Book Talk: Exile sheds new light on home for Somali author

TOKYO (Reuters) – For Somali native Nuruddin Farah, the author of 11 novels, exile — with all its pain — has enabled him to turn storytelling into an art form, distilling the complications of his tortured homeland into something people understand.

His latest book, “Crossbones,” is the final volume of a trilogy and follows Malik, a half-Somali war correspondent based in New York, as he arrives in Somalia in 2006 to a precarious calm just days before Ethiopia invades the country.

Aug 29, 2011

You don’t get older, you get better — really

TOKYO, Aug 29 (Reuters) – Jokes about creaky knees, thinning
hair and spreading — or vanishing — waistlines have long been
an inevitable, if unwelcome, part of watching the birthdays pile
up.

But it shouldn’t be that way, argues Wendy Lustbader, who
maintains that youth, with all its insecurities and confusion,
is more of a burden than the golden age society says it is, with
ageing far from a gloomy decline.