Toyo learned to ask nothing, to wait and count the days. But they passed and passed and still the doorway remained empty of his deep voice, calling out her name.
Blending the intimacy of memoir with an artist’s vision, Toyo is the story of a remarkable woman, a vivid picture of Japan before and after war, and an unpredictable tale of courage and change in today’s Australia.
Born into the traditional world of pre-war Osaka, Toyo must always protect the secret of her parents’ true relationship. Her father lives in China with his wife; her unmarried mother runs a café. Toyo and her mother are beautiful and polite, keeping themselves in society’s good graces.
Then comes the rain of American bombs. Toyo’s life is uprooted again and again. With each sharp change and painful loss, she becomes more herself and more aware of where she has come from. She finds family and belief, but still clings to her parents’ secret.
In Toyo, Lily Chan has pieced together the unconventional shape of her grandmother’s story. Vibrant and ultimately heart-rending, Toyo is the chronicle of an extraordinary life, infused with a granddaughter’s love.
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Praise for Toyo:
"This is a beautifully lyrical and compelling voice, infused with deep insight and love" – Alice Pung
"Vivid and surprising at every turn” – Amanda Lohrey
‘an exquisite memoir’ - Manly Daily
‘[Chan’s] tender voice is remarkably consistent and filled with indelible images of her grandmother's other world.’ - the Age
“You can see why Chan...won the Peter Blazey Fellowship for manuscript-in-progress for this book.” - the Australian
“Colourful, astonishing and intelligent.” - Courier Mail
Longlisted, 2013 Dobbie Literary Award