Friday, April 13, 2012

A Bride's Story by Kaoru Mori

Twenty Year Old Woman Marries Twelve Year Old Boy.

Imagine reading that headline in the newspaper. What would your reaction be? You'd probably be disgusted and think it is wrong, a point which many would agree on. However, in the early 19th century, along Asia's Silk Road, having large age gaps in marriage would be normal. In fact, it would be encouraged. 

For Amir Halgal the age difference is not a good thing, in Kaoru Mori's "Bride's Story." As a twenty-year old, her age causes many of the villagers to question whether or not she will be able to have kids when her young husband, Karluk, is ready. Amir, formerly living as a nomad, lives in a patrilocal society.

Though forced into marriage, Amir truly develops feelings for Karluk, and his family has accepted her as one of their own. Which is why, when Amir's family comes to take her home because they found someone else for her to marry- someone more convenient to the survival of their tribe-Karuk's family does not allow them to take Amir away.

Though this type of literature is not often read in school, it may have its advantages. Graphic novels tend to be quick reads and have easy to follow plots. Graphic novels (or manga) may appeal to reluctant readers, and those of different cultures; this story in particular may appeal to those of other cultures because of its rich Asian history and details of early 19th century life. The drawings are beautifully done, and are extremely detailed. The only real problem I had was telling the female characters apart!

This particular manga is definitely for older readers: there is brief female nudity in this book. Otherwise, it is a clean story and only alludes to Amir and Karluk's potential baby issue. This is the first of three novels, and I would be interested to see where this story goes.


Safa said...

The review sounds interesting although as a teenager in high school i can't say I would have selected this as a first choice. I believe the graphics that you speak about would help pull the reader into the story. I can vision as a motion picture.


runner4life23 said...

Amber, your review sounds very intriguing in the way that it shows how age difference doesn't mean anything, well, at least in this case. This graphic novel will help students see cultural differences as well as being a well-illustrated, quick read. By the way, just wanted to say great use of hyperlinks! I thought they explained a lot to me :)I also wanted to ask you what grade level you believe this graphic novel should be read at. I'm wondering because, like Safa's comment up above, I doubt I can say this would have been my first choice for a read.

Sarah Rau said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sarah Rau said...

Great attention grabbing first line. This seems so shocking. With such a foreign concept, I'd be really interested in reading something like this. It definitely sounds like nothing I've read before. Just judging by the cover and your comment on its beautiful drawings, it looks like this book's detailed art is a strong feature in engaging the reader.

Nicole Dahl said...

This story seems very interesting to me and I think it would be a great way to teach students about Asian history. Asian culture is certainly one thing I did not learn that much about when I was in school. I really enjoyed your links as well! They were very helpful in providing additional information and maybe would be something to share with students if this book were taught in school. I agree with your reasons for the advantages to having graphic novels read in school and after being exposed to them in this class, I definitely think it is a type of literature that could be a very valuable alternative to the typical novel to have students read.

Cessacolypse said...

I've always been into Anime/Manga--the books and the shows. I love [Asian?] history, if I can call it that--I guess I'm a sucker for Japanese/Korean/Chinese history, to clarify, and seeing that this has something of the sort this review made me pretty interested in taking a look at this novel. Great opening line by the way! That's mostly what yanked me in.

Anonymous said...

Great review! As an avid reader of novels, I never had an interest in comics or manga until about two years ago. A sudden interest in art, and how human expression through art can be conveyed so beautifully drew me to manga, and I am consumed with the stories I find now in Japanese manga. I have to say that the artwork of Kaoru Mori appeals to me the most so far. Most manga stories are usually light and easy to read, but with her stories I want to study the patterns and absolutely lose myself in the period she writes about, all thanks to her incredible drawings. Her attention to detail and eye for finding beauty in simple every day activities makes it more than just an illustrated story, it truly is a form of artwork.
The age difference you mentioned indeed can elicit a few shocked responses. I think because of the innocence of the time (no porn, no boys drooling over cheap images of woman, etc) the relationship so far is also innocent. I'm curious at what point boys of their time were considered men ready for making families. I certainly don't think of 12 years old as capable of that and seeing the two together is reminiscent of a brother-sister relationship. But I enjoy watching their slow ascent to love. Can't wait to see this story unfold. I don't happen to enjoy the sister wives portion of the story. Not at all really. But I still love her drawings of those characters. I'd have to say the twins from Aral Sea were the most humorous and enjoyable. I'd love to see the days following the wedding, and some future chapters of their growing families.