Author: Suzanne Rindell
Publisher: G.P Putnam's Sons
Type of book: Internment camps, Japanese male/American female, 1860s?- 1940s, history, feud, love triangle, California, aviation, barnstorming act, friendship, epic, family, loyalty
Year it was published: 2018
Two young daredevil flyers confront ugly truths and family secrets during the U.S. internment of Japanese citizens during World War II, from the author of The Other Typist and Three-Martini Lunch.
Louis Thorn and Haruto "Harry" Yamada -- Eagle and Crane -- are the star attractions of Earl Shaw's Flying Circus, a daredevil (and not exactly legal) flying act that traverses Depression-era California. The young men have a complicated relationship, thanks to the Thorn family's belief that the Yamadas -- Japanese immigrants -- stole land that should have stayed in the Thorn family.
When Louis and Harry become aerial stuntmen, performing death-defying tricks high above audiences, they're both drawn to Shaw's smart and appealing stepdaughter, Ava Brooks. When the Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor and one of Shaw's planes mysteriously crashes and two charred bodies are discovered in it, authorities conclude that the victims were Harry and his father, Kenichi, who had escaped from a Japanese internment camp they had been sent to by the federal government. To the local sheriff, the situation is open and shut. But to the lone FBI agent assigned to the case, the details don't add up.
Thus begins an investigation into what really happened to cause the plane crash, who was in the plane when it fell from the sky, and why no one involved seems willing to tell the truth. By turns an absorbing mystery and a fascinating exploration of race, family and loyalty, Eagle and Crane is that rare novel that tells a gripping story as it explores a terrible era of American history.
Main characters include Ava Brooks, Louis Thorn and Haruto "Harry" Yamada. Ava Brooks is a complex woman who doesn't seem to trust her instincts in beginning of the story but at the same time she is very aware of her surroundings. She is very loyal to her mother and to friends and can often sniff out a rat or a con. She is described as red-haired and has had a difficult childhood. Louis Thorn is best described as a sensitive young man who wants to stay close to his family members and help them get out of poverty. He tends to be methodical in thinking and doing and is often afraid of taking risks, unless Harry encourages/pushes him into taking them. Harry is far more American than Japanese and is a true daredevil when it comes to barnstorming acts. Despite his cocky bravado, I get an impression that Harry often feels cursed and he is unsure whether or not good things will await him. He doesn't like stirring up trouble although there are many times he wants to, I bet and is also loyal to his family. Unlike Louis who had a hardscrabble childhood, Harry's childhood seemed to be stable and comfortable.
Things are not what they seem
The story is in third person narrative from what seems to be almost everyone's point of view, although the primary narrators would have been Ava and Louis. It begins with the visit from FBI looking into the disappearance of Haruto "Harry" Yamada as well as his father Keinichi Yamada who were detained at the internment camp for the Japanese, but then without a warning, a biplane flies and explodes leaving two bodies behind: that of Keinichi and of Harry. Then the narrative starts to jump into the characters' childhoods as well as some of the family history of Harry's and Louis's families and how the feud over the land began. A lot of love and research went into creating the tale and very little gets ignored, which gives the story an old fashioned Hollywood movie feeling. As I imagine, the reader will not feel lost upon entering the tale even if they know next to nothing about history. One thing that did disappoint me is that I wanted there to be more scenes with Harry and Ava which felt a bit lacking for me. The characters were very well-drawn and were consistent within the story. I also appreciated that Harry was drawn as a complex human being rather than being one dimensional, and he also was someone to admire and swoon over.
(From the book)
Suzanne Rindell is the author of two previous noels, The Other Typist and Three-Martini Lunch. She grew up in the Sacramento area and divides her time between New York and California.
A long time ago, I was excited about Kristina McMorris's sophomore debut; THE BRIDGE OF SCARLET LEAVES. While that book was a good read, I felt that a lot of things were lacking in that novel, and inside I despaired of finding an epic tale that would be my ideal "Pearl Harbor" movie. 2018 rolls around, and I feel blessed, lucky as well as excited to present to my readers EAGLE AND CRANE, which is what I was craving for all those years. A delightful and cinematic blend that just begs to be a movie and epic in power and scope, its a treasure to read and to enjoy and hope that the story actually did happen in the past. For readers who want to see a positive and realistic Asian male presentation in a love triangle as well as for readers who want to experience the fascinating history of aviation and reading about something not well documented, EAGLE AND CRANE is the right novel to curl up and to enjoy. I loved spending time with this book and going deeper and deeper into the story and mystery and how the history of the characters has tied up.
This was given for a honest review
5 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)