Ellis Avery\’s The Teahouse Fire Is a Gem
Ellis Avery, author of the recently released novel The Teahouse Fire (Riverhead Books), has given lovers of things Japanese a gem.
From the moment one reads the first sentence: \”When I was nine, in the city now called Kyoto, I changed my fate.\” one is fascinated by the narrator\’s voice and energy. Avery lets us know that the characters in this novel will not be dolls to be moved about or toyed with.
I suppose one might ask, what does Avery know of the Japanese or tea ceremony? I have to confess that I know her and that I also know she spent time in Japan while working on this novel to master the tea ceremony, so need I say any more. Certainly her fondness for the Japanese culture and history comes through in this book. The delicacy of what one says, when one says it, and how one says it is so important. For the essence of meaning is like colors in a landscape much like the limited words in a haiku, which happens to be one of my fondest forms of poetry, which directly contributed to the Impressionists. Ah, all is a life cycle.
So my advice is to make yourself comfortable with a good cup of tea, beside a fire, if possible, and escape into this exotic period of Japanese history.
And if you get a chance and want to read other work by Avery, might I suggest The Smoke Week: Sept. 11-21, 2001 (Gival Press) which is an eye witness account of the events that changed us.