In 1948, a nineteen-year-old pearl diver's dreams of spending her life combing the waters of Japan's Inland Sea are shattered when she discovers she has leprosy. By law, she is exiled to an island leprosarium, where she is stripped of her dignity and instructed to forget her past. Her name is erased from her family records, and she is forced to select a new one. To the two thousand patients on the island of Nagashima, she becomes Miss Fuji. Although drugs arrest the course of Miss Fuji's disease, she cannot leave the colony. Instead, she becomes a caretaker to the other patients, and through the example of their courage, she gains insight into the deep wellspring of strength she will need to reclaim her freedom. Written with precision and eloquence, The Pearl Diver is a dazzling meditation on isolation and community, cruelty and compassion.
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by John Shors
by Jeff Talarigo
by Jeff Long
by Jeff Shaara
by Sylvia Engdahl
by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston, James D. Houston
by Angela Davis-Gardner
by Rae Carson
by Sandra Dallas
by Elise Broach
by Polly Shulman
by Robert Cormier
"Jeff Talarigo's first novel takes us somewhere we've never been. This beautifully crafted story, which takes place in 1948, follows a 19-year-old Japanese pearl diver who discovers she has leprosy. Quarantined to Nagashima, an island hospital, she must give up all connection to her past--even her name. Jenny Ikeda's voice is light and youthful, the epitome of girlish innocence. In her understated performance, the grotesque assumes a quiet grace. As "Miss Fuji" learns the harsh realities of life in the leprosarium, Ikeda's icy voice cuts like a knife. Talarigo provides historical glimpses of a society that shunned lepers, a world medical community's indifference to their treatment, and the stigma the disease brought to families. The combination of an original, intriguing, completely engaging tale, read by the perfect actor for it, makes this required reading. S.J.H. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award (c) AudioFile 2004, Portland, Maine"
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