(I only have 5-6 blurry photos, she didn’t stand still!)
We are in the 50s or 60s in USA. Germany and Japan (and Italy, although barely mentioned ) have won WWII. USA is under japanese jurisdiction and everyone has adapted in this new lifestyle. There is still slavery, Jewish people are illegal, but other than that life is pretty much ok. Americans have adopted japanese culture in many parts of their lives. There are no executions and massacres in this book, the war is over.
This book did not have a main story. There were at least 4 different stories loosely connected and at least 5 main characters. The world is described pretty good: rickshaws, rocket ships that fly from Europe to USA in one hour, Mars is inhabited already, Africa… well, something happened there.
The weird thing in this book is that the at least 4 different stories feel incomplete. It feels as if you would prefer to read 3 or 4 different books, one for each story. However this abstraction is what makes the book what it is. In that aspect, it reminded me of Slaughterhouse 5.
There are many philosophical moments in the story, where the characters reflect on life as it is, which are very insightful and deep. On the other hand there are pages and pages on topics that look uninteresting: making jewelry, selling antiques, I-Ching (which is important to the story, but I find it uninteresting). I was wondering why the author spends so many pages on antiquing. I want to know what the Nazis did after the war! Give me more details!
But all the above taken together create a book that is special and original and makes you think that the author is a very smart person.
(I think I would not dare read it in english!)