Gone to Soldiers: A Novel

Open Road Media
5
Free sample

Ten characters, from occupied France to the Pacific Theater and from the frontlines to the home front, are profoundly changed by the events of World War II in this New York Times bestseller

Epic in scope, Marge Piercy’s sweeping novel encompasses the wide range of people and places marked by the Second World War. Each of her ten narrators has a unique and compelling story that powerfully depicts his or her personality, desires, and fears. Special attention is given to the women of the war effort, like Bernice, who rebels against her domineering father to become a fighter pilot, and Naomi, a Parisian Jew sent to live with relatives in Detroit, whose twin sister, Jacqueline—still in France—joins the resistance against Nazi rule.
 
The horrors of the concentration camps; the heroism of soldiers on the beaches of Okinawa, the skies above London, and the seas of the Mediterranean; the brilliance of code breakers; and the resilience of families waiting for the return of sons, brothers, and fathers are all conveyed through powerful, poignant prose that resonates beyond the page. Gone to Soldiers is a testament to the ordinary people, with their flaws and inner strife, who rose to defend liberty during the most extraordinary times.
 
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About the author

Marge Piercy (b. 1936) is the author of nineteen poetry collections, including The Hunger Moon and Made in Detroit, and seventeen novels, including the New York Times bestseller Gone to Soldiers and He, She and It, winner of the Arthur C. Clarke Award for science fiction. She has also written a memoir, Sleeping with Cats; a collection of short stories, The Cost of Lunch, Etc.; and five nonfiction books. A champion of feminism, antiwar, and ecological movements, Piercy often includes political themes in her work and features strong female characters who challenge traditional gender roles. Her book of poetry The Moon Is Always Female is considered a seminal feminist text. Piercy’s other works include Woman on the Edge of Time, The Longings of Women, and City of Darkness, City of Light. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband, radio personality and author Ira Wood, with whom she cowrote the novel Storm Tide.
 
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Additional Information

Publisher
Open Road Media
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Published on
Apr 12, 2016
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Pages
757
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ISBN
9781504033435
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Historical
Fiction / Literary
Fiction / Sagas
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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BONUS: This edition contains a Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet discussion guide and an excerpt from Jamie Ford's Songs of Willow Frost.

"Sentimental, heartfelt….the exploration of Henry’s changing relationship with his family and with Keiko will keep most readers turning pages...A timely debut that not only reminds readers of a shameful episode in American history, but cautions us to examine the present and take heed we don’t repeat those injustices."-- Kirkus Reviews

“A tender and satisfying novel set in a time and a place lost forever, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet gives us a glimpse of the damage that is caused by war--not the sweeping damage of the battlefield, but the cold, cruel damage to the hearts and humanity of individual people. Especially relevant in today's world, this is a beautifully written book that will make you think. And, more importantly, it will make you feel."
-- Garth Stein, New York Times bestselling author of The Art of Racing in the Rain

“Jamie Ford's first novel explores the age-old conflicts between father and son, the beauty and sadness of what happened to Japanese Americans in the Seattle area during World War II, and the depths and longing of deep-heart love. An impressive, bitter, and sweet debut.”
-- Lisa See, bestselling author of Snow Flower and the Secret Fan


In the opening pages of Jamie Ford’s stunning debut novel, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, Henry Lee comes upon a crowd gathered outside the Panama Hotel, once the gateway to Seattle’s Japantown. It has been boarded up for decades, but now the new owner has made an incredible discovery: the belongings of Japanese families, left when they were rounded up and sent to internment camps during World War II. As Henry looks on, the owner opens a Japanese parasol.

This simple act takes old Henry Lee back to the 1940s, at the height of the war, when young Henry’s world is a jumble of confusion and excitement, and to his father, who is obsessed with the war in China and having Henry grow up American. While “scholarshipping” at the exclusive Rainier Elementary, where the white kids ignore him, Henry meets Keiko Okabe, a young Japanese American student. Amid the chaos of blackouts, curfews, and FBI raids, Henry and Keiko forge a bond of friendship–and innocent love–that transcends the long-standing prejudices of their Old World ancestors. And after Keiko and her family are swept up in the evacuations to the internment camps, she and Henry are left only with the hope that the war will end, and that their promise to each other will be kept.

Forty years later, Henry Lee is certain that the parasol belonged to Keiko. In the hotel’s dark dusty basement he begins looking for signs of the Okabe family’s belongings and for a long-lost object whose value he cannot begin to measure. Now a widower, Henry is still trying to find his voice–words that might explain the actions of his nationalistic father; words that might bridge the gap between him and his modern, Chinese American son; words that might help him confront the choices he made many years ago.

Set during one of the most conflicted and volatile times in American history, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet is an extraordinary story of commitment and enduring hope. In Henry and Keiko, Jamie Ford has created an unforgettable duo whose story teaches us of the power of forgiveness and the human heart.
Hailed as a classic of speculative fiction, Marge Piercy’s landmark novel is a transformative vision of two futures—and what it takes to will one or the other into reality. Harrowing and prescient, Woman on the Edge of Time speaks to a new generation on whom these choices weigh more heavily than ever before.
 
Connie Ramos is a Mexican American woman living on the streets of New York. Once ambitious and proud, she has lost her child, her husband, her dignity—and now they want to take her sanity. After being unjustly committed to a mental institution, Connie is contacted by an envoy from the year 2137, who shows her a time of sexual and racial equality, environmental purity, and unprecedented self-actualization. But Connie also bears witness to another potential outcome: a society of grotesque exploitation in which the barrier between person and commodity has finally been eroded. One will become our world. And Connie herself may strike the decisive blow.
 
Praise for Woman on the Edge of Time
 
“This is one of those rare novels that leave us different people at the end than we were at the beginning. Whether you are reading Marge Piercy’s great work again or for the first time, it will remind you that we are creating the future with every choice we make.”—Gloria Steinem
 
“An ambitious, unusual novel about the possibilities for moral courage in contemporary society.”—The Philadelphia Inquirer
 
“A stunning, even astonishing novel . . . marvelous and compelling.”—Publishers Weekly
 
“Connie Ramos’s world is cuttingly real.”—Newsweek
 
“Absorbing and exciting.”—The New York Times Book Review


From the Trade Paperback edition.
This new gathering of Marge Piercy’s poems—energetic, funny, political, full of vitality—brings us the heart of her mature work, the first selected since Circles on the Water in 1982.

Here are poems that chart the milestone events and fierce passions of her middle years: the death of her mother, whom we meet first as a young woman, “awkwardly lovely, her face / pure as a single trill perfectly / prolonged on a violin,” and again as an older woman musing on what the afterlife may hold for her. There is a new marriage which she celebrates not only for romantic beginnings but also for the more intimate details that emerge over time: “love cherishes too the backpockets, / the pencil ends of childhood fears.”

Some poems convey her long-held, never-wavering political convictions, which she declares in language unmistakably and colorfully her own, as when she encourages her feminist readers to go to the opera instead of the movies because at least there the heroine is real, “fifty and weighs as much as a ’65 Chevy with fins.”

Living out to sea on Cape Cod settles her into the rhythm of seasons and provides poems of planting and harvests, odes to tomatoes and roses, tributes to the power and freedom of whales. And in these years she rediscovers her Jewish heritage, celebrating holidays and making of them something new and original.

She begins to examine her own legacy:
I have worn the faces, the masks
of hieroglyphs, gods and demons,
bat faced ghosts, sibyls and thieves,
lover, loser, red rose and ragweed,
these are the tracks I have left
on the white crust of time.


From the Hardcover edition.
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