“Asha Lemmie’s debut novel Fifty Words for Rain follows eight-year-old Nori after she is abandoned by her mother and left to fend for herself in the unkind graces of a family built on tradition and power. Lemmie has penned an impassioned story that confronts the uncomfortable truths behind institutionalized prejudice and the history of violence and subjugation of the powerless by those on the highest rungs of society. It’s an emotional journey with an unexpected ending.”


Just finished Fifty Words For Rain by Asha Lemmie. Debut novel.
This story takes place mostly in Japan, beginning in the early 1950’s and continuing into the 1970’s
This is the story of Nori Kamiza, an illegitimate, inter-racial child born to a woman from a very rich and influential family who are related to the Emporer, so they are considered royalty.
As the book begins, Ori’s mother drops her off in front of the palatial home of her family when Nori is about 9 years old, then leaves as she is disgraced and is no longer welcome by her family. Nori is not really welcomed either. Treated like a nobody she is relegated to a very small room in the attic, is never allowed outside and is beaten regularly by her grandmother.

Things change when Akira, her half brother returns to the household upon the death of his father. He has not seen his disgraced mother in years, and he now enters Nori’s life in a very impactful way.
He is a highly touted classical musician, specializing on the violin, though he has also mastered piano. He and Nori develop a very strong relationship. He will teach her how to read and play music until she becomes almost as good as he is.

The story then becomes the story of their relationship. Akira will always be the man she looks up to and adores.
Their will be many obstacles placed in Nori’s way, but as she gets older she learns from each event, becoming stronger by the day. As she gets older she will begin to learn of the many secrets that run through her family. All of this she begins to adapt to and use for her own benefit.
This story is steeped in old Japanese culture, and Nori finds herself divided between the modern world and the old world of Royal Japan.
A very good first effort by the author. A book that should be enjoyed by most of our readers. Recommended.


Reviewed by:

Richard Franco

Added 5th February 2021

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Richard Franco