East Wind Melts the Ice: A Memoir Through the Seasons

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University of California Press, Feb 17, 2009 - Biography & Autobiography - 318 pages
"To read East Wind Melts the Ice is to slip into a time stream that is both as long and sinuous as history and as ephemeral as the present moment. Drawing inspiration from the thousand year old history of Japanese poetic diaries, and form from the ancient Chinese almanac that she uses to contain her musings, Liza Dalby has accomplished the seemingly impossible task of translating the sensibility of the Heian Court of 11th century Japan into the context of contemporary America. The result is a stunning chronicle of the beauty of time passing and an evocation of the transient and whimsical nature of all things."—Ruth Ozeki, author of My Year of Meats and All Over Creation

"I imagine Liza Dalby writing this book in an ancient library, a lion sleeping at her side, as in the paintings of Saint Jerome. As she collects and layers arcane and fascinating pieces of knowledge, she builds her own very personal almanac packed with the wonder of loving two cultures, the intense inner life of each season, and boundless curiosity of the scholar/child. This is a book to dip in and out of throughout the year."—Frances Mayes, author of Under the Tuscan Sun

"Liza Dalby's memoir of the seasons is as fresh and captivating as springtime. A very special book."—Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore's Dilemma

"This beautiful book awakens the senses. A journal, an almanac of the seasons, and a series of reflections on ancient Eastern Chinese and Japanese cultures, here you will find subtle observations of rain and heat, tangerines, mulberries and paulownia trees, crickets and doves forming a rich tapestry as they are woven with evocative fragments of history—stories of geishas, of salesmen who sold bulk fireflies, of the wood that was used for kimono chests, of emptiness in the tea ceremony. Like a lush garden, this book is meant to savor."—Susan Griffin, author of The Book of the Courtesans

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User Review  - wandering_star - LibraryThing

This is a book of very short essays, inspired by the divisions of the seasons in an old Chinese almanac, which is still referred to in Japan. The almanac divides the year into 4/5 day periods, each ... Read full review

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cool wind arrives
water begins to freeze
walled up and closed winter takes hold
seventytwo periods of the year

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About the author (2009)

Liza Dalby is an anthropologist specializing in Japanese culture. She was recently a consultant for Rob Marshall's film Memoirs of a Geisha.