“A Single Rose” is a poetic journey taken over just a few days by two strangers brought together by a death. Rose received news that Haru, her father, had died. She must take her first trip to Kyo¯to Japan to settle his estate and to learn about the father that she never knew. This journey changes her life in ways she could never have anticipated.
Paul, her father’s dedicated assistant, is waiting to greet her. Together they spend the days until the reading of the will exploring grief, abandonment, and nature. Rose is a botanist and acutely aware of every leaf, flower, and plant around her. She sees the summer magnolias that spill from a dark vase and catch the light in successive cascades, and observes the shadows that flicker like gleaming water pouring onto the flowers. Paul and Rose wander by a moss-covered bridge spanning a narrow arm of a pond, and visit Zen gardens with beds of fine gray sand where parallel lines have been drawn with a rake. Their very souls absorb the beauty of nature. They find an understanding of relationships and a way to accept all that has been lost. They both have suffered greatly, but now a new life is beginning. They find love where they were not looking for it.
“A Single Rose” is a picture painted with words. Every page is a journey filled with appreciation and peace. Interspersed between chapters are stories, folk tales, which preview the events to come and reflect the rich Japanese culture. I received a review copy of “A Single Rose” from Muriel Barbery, Alison Anderson (who translated it from the French) and Europa Editions. It is joyous and delightful, an inspiration to read.