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From the time she was a child, Mas Arai’s daughter, Mari, was completely gasa-gasa–never sitting still, always on the go, getting into everything. And Mas, busy tending lawns, gambling, and struggling to put his Hiroshima past behind him, never had much time for the family he was trying to support. For years now, his resentful daughter has lived a continent away in New York City, and had a life he knew little about. But an anxious phone call from Mari asking for his help plunges the usually obstinate Mas into a series of startling situations from maneuvering in an unfamiliar city to making nice with his tall, blond son-in-law, Lloyd, to taking care of a sickly child…to finding a dead body in the rubble of a former koi pond.
The victim was Kazzy Ouchi, a half-Japanese millionaire who also happened to be Mari and Lloyd’s boss. Stumbling onto the scene, Mas sees more amiss than the detectives do, but his instinct is to keep his mouth shut. Only when the case threatens his daughter and her family does Mas take action: patiently, stubbornly tugging at the end of a tangled, dangerous mystery. And as he does, he begins to lay bare a tragic secret on the dark side of an American dream.…
Both a riveting mystery and a powerful story of passionate relationships across a cultural divide,Gasa-Gasa Girl is a tale told with heart and wisdom: an unforgettable portrait of fathers, daughters, and other strangers.
Mari Arai was always known to her parents as being gaza-gasa, an into everything kind of girl, just the opposite of laid back. Mas Arai, her dad tells her she takes after her mother. Mari retorts that her mother claimed it was a trait taken from her father. This may be the closer to the truth. Mas Arai had dreams of becoming an engineer but he life took another path after he was fortunate enough to survive the Hiroshima bomb.
Mas ended up becoming a gardener in the LA area and spent many decades at this craft. Retirement is a word that he knows will never apply to him. He spent many years living very quietly until he was involved in a case chronicled in THE SUMMER OF THE BIG BACHI the first in this series by Naomi Hirahara. Now he is traveling to New York because his daughter has issued a cry for help.
He is just getting his feet accustomed to concrete sidewalks when he discovers the dead body of his son-in law LLoyd's boss in a Koi pond with mysterious markings. This victim was Kazzy Ouchi a magnate in the silk garment industry was the son of a humble gardener at a big New York City estate. Mas becomes enmeshed in the complex affair because one of his strengths is that he is not a quitter. Mari and Lloyd are in the middle of this scenario and Mas investigates so he can extricate them.
This is a lovely book with interesting fascinating characters who have a background as a part of American history. The author touches gently on all the different generations of Japanese-Americans and how East coast and West coast lives of the citizens differ.read more
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If not as flawless as Nirahara's debut, Summer of the Big Bachi (2004), the second outing for Japanese-American Mas Harai-Hiroshima survivor, Californian, gardener and sleuth-offers many of the same felicities. Mas's estranged daughter, Mari, whom he has described since babyhood as gasa-gasa (constantly moving), invites him to New York City, where everyone seems to be gasa-gasa. Son-in-law Lloyd, also a gardener, has requested Mas's help in restoring a traditional Japanese garden attached to a mansion in Brooklyn's Park Slope. The father of the owner, tycoon Kazzy Ouchi, was the original owner's gardener, and Ouchi's daughter now oversees the development of the mansion into a museum about the Japanese in New York. Vandalism, theft and neighborhood opposition already threaten the project, but it hits a really big snag when Mas discovers Ouchi's corpse in the dry koi pond. Mas and old friend Tug Yamada begin an investigation that leads to a much sought after Japanese diary recording the sordid history of the mansion's early tenants. The endearing, quietly dignified Mas, supported by a cast of spirited New Yorkers, as well as the distinctive Japanese-flavored prose, make this a memorable read. Agent, Sonia Pabley. (Mar. 29) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved