Books Reviews

The Singing Widow of a Buddhist Priest

The Singing Widow of a Buddhist Priest - Ruth Reiner

Blurb: A rich, fun, spicy novel about the all-time, most impossible journey of an American woman determined to make it in Japan.
When Sarah Green discovers her destiny is to tie her life with Japan, she does everything possible to make it there. This, however, comes with a price.
As she climbs up the corporate ladder in her Tokyo-based, Japanese firm, everything else falls apart. Only the singing widow of a Buddhist priest, a white Persian cat, an ex-sumo champion, and a handsome mystery man can help her mold together her scattered self into a version of the woman she truly thirsts to be.
The Singing Widow of a Buddhist Priest is narrated in Sarah Green’s witty, determined and, at times, insecure voice. The novel is humorous yet elegant in both its descriptions of Japan and its culture. It is a must read for Japan lovers, especially for those who can enjoy light reading and never stop believing that dreams can come true.

Thoughts: Although ‘The Singing Widow of a Buddhist Priest’ is Ruth Reiner’s first novel, it is well-written, probably because Reiner has a lot of Japan-related experiences.
She spent a year there with the Japanese Shinto community in Kyoto. She also holds a Japan-focused MBA from the University of Hawaii and The Japan-American Institute of Management Science, based on which she negotiated business interests between Japanese and non-Japanese firms.
The book is about the friendship between the main protagonist, an American woman Sarah, and the widow referred to in the title. It is quite interesting because it resembles a memoir and a travelogue. It shows Reiner’s love and interest in Japan—the country as experienced by a foreigner.
It is also a second chance story: Sarah makes mistakes like all human beings but bounces back from their consequences, with the help of many people.
So, what makes it special? She makes these mistakes when she is in another country and the kind and generous colleagues/acquaintances/strangers who help her become her friends and relatives.
If you want to read a feel-good book, this would be a great choice. It presents life with a tinge of humor and a dash of hope.

Note: I received an advance review copy from BookSirens in exchange for an honest review.

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