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The Commoner: A Novel
by John Burnham Schwartz

Published: 2008-01-22
Hardcover : 368 pages
2 members reading this now
7 clubs reading this now
5 members have read this book
Recommended to book clubs by 3 of 3 members

It is 1959 when Haruko, a young woman of good family, marries the Crown Prince of Japan, the heir to the Chrysanthemum Throne. She is the first non-aristocratic woman to enter the longest-running, almost hermetically sealed, and mysterious monarchy in the world. Met with cruelty and ...

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Introduction

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It is 1959 when Haruko, a young woman of good family, marries the Crown Prince of Japan, the heir to the Chrysanthemum Throne. She is the first non-aristocratic woman to enter the longest-running, almost hermetically sealed, and mysterious monarchy in the world. Met with cruelty and suspicion by the Empress and her minions, Haruko is controlled at every turn. The only interest the court has in her is her ability to produce an heir. After finally giving birth to a son, Haruko suffers a nervous breakdown and loses her voice. However, determined not to be crushed by the imperial bureaucrats, she perseveres. Thirty years later, now Empress herself, she plays a crucial role in persuading another young woman—a rising star in the foreign ministry—to accept the marriage proposal of her son, the Crown Prince. The consequences are tragic and dramatic.

Told in the voice of Haruko, meticulously researched and superbly imagined, The Commoner is the mesmerizing, moving, and surprising story of a brutally rarified and controlled existence at once hidden and exposed, and of a complex relationship between two isolated women who, despite being visible to all, are truly understood only by each other. With the unerring skill of a master storyteller, John Burnham Schwartz has written his finest novel yet.

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  "The Commoner"by julnelms (see profile) 07/10/11

This is our book clubs last read, we meet this coming monday so will add to this after discussion. .Personally, I love the book and went on to investigate further the real story of Empress Michiko. There... (read more)

 
  "Not Historically Accurate"by rowchick (see profile) 11/10/10

The author takes what is a true event and takes A TON of creative license with the facts. That being said, I still love the story. I just hate to think that people read this and think that what is on... (read more)

 
  "The Commoner"by collins2005 (see profile) 02/19/10

 
  "The Commoner: A Novel"by eydie_ann (see profile) 02/19/10

 
  "Great Read!"by summit99 (see profile) 01/09/10

Our group LOVED this book. We found the in depth depiction of another culture very fascinating; while at the same time being able to relate to the universal human spirit. Our group is essentially around... (read more)

 
  "thecommoner"by stasha (see profile) 04/28/09

good book for lively discussion, possibilities for women in the future in breaking long-held traditions is brought forth, breaking curses of a generation and saving ones soul.

 
  "The Commoner"by mjvf57 (see profile) 04/28/09

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