East Wind Melts theIce
21/06/2010 by Paradigm Shift
By Liza Dalby
In this collection of essays Liza Dalby takes the 72 seasonal units of an ancient Chinese almanac as seeds, and grows them into a year’s journal, entwining personal experience, natural phenomena, and ruminations on the cultural aesthetics and preoccupations of China, Japan and California. Drawing connections between literature and nature, memory and experience, Liza mines her experiences over the years she spent in Japan where she first went to live at the age of sixteen.
East Wind Melts the Ice is a dazzling, wise and mosaic-like reflection of the world. Itflows easily and poetically through each of the 72 seasons of China and Japan as Liza Dalby brings the reader closer to their times, meanings and legends. Who could not be amused by singing worms and entranced by the golden orioles’ courtship flight or the image of the fragrant cherry blossom. Season names such as ‘rainbows hide’, ‘the tiger begins to roam’ and ‘earthworms twist’ are a delight in themselves, especially as Liza weaves in the Californian changes of the year and compares the way of life inthe East and the West.
Liza’s writing is superb – prepare to be enchanted and enthralled throughout as she brings together the two hemispheres in a kaleidoscope of glorious imagery.
Review by Joan Osborne
Published by Vintage UK www.vintage-books.co.uk