Echoes from a Falling Bridge


Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Adelaide Books (January 2018)
Language: English
ISBN-13: 978-0-9996451-2-3
ISBN-10: 0-9996451-2-9
Product Dimensions:  6 x 1 x 9 inches
Price: $23.20 Paperback, $9.77 eBook


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In 1939, Nobuko Ito, a young Japanese-American woman, travels from her home in California to Japan, where she is to learn the culture of her ancestors. Tensions grow between the two countries. Soon her country and the country she has grown to love are at war. The next four years are brutal, both for those who go to fight (Hirotaka Katsuragawa, a young art student, Masato Abi, the son of local merchants, Toshio Hara, a farmer turned soldier), and those who remain behind (Nobuko, Yoko Yoshida, who manages the local pottery factory while her husband is fighting the war, and the women and children of Nishimi). 

In 1997, these characters are in their twilight years. Nobuko is a widow. Yoko is reduced to dusting and serving tea in the factory she once ran.  Toshio has gone mad. Hirotaka has become the sensei, honored teacher. While the pottery factory is the heart of the village, Hirotaka is its soul. When a murder is committed, the motive is found buried beneath the rubble of a bridge destroyed in New Guinea, fifty-five years earlier.  The noise of its fall still echoes.


japan at war


A sweeping, multi-generational tale, ECHOES FROM A FALLING BRIDGE is set in China, Japan and New Guinea. In 1939, Japan has taken Manchuria and is fighting to conquer the rest of China. It is also marching irrevocably toward war with the West. Nowhere is it possible to escape the country’s growing militarism, not even in the remote mountain village of Nishimi and the pottery factory at its center. The long years of fighting nearly destroy both.


japanese village


Then it is 1997 and the hard-earned tranquility of the village is once again ripped away, this time by the country’s financial crisis and the violent murder of the pottery factory’s owner. Locals think the yakuza, the Japanese mafia, did it, but the killer is closer to home, the motive buried deep beneath the rubble of a bridge blown down in New Guinea more than fifty years before.




In writing ECHOES FROM A FALLING BRIDGE, I drew on my experience working in a family owned Japanese pottery factory, plus my interest in WWII. (I once heard an interview on PBS when Walter Mosely of Easy Rawlins fame discussed memory. He said our “memory” includes the decade before we were born as it is something our parents and elders talked about and the music we heard when we were growing up. I was born two years and two days before Pearl Harbor was attacked. Using Mosley’s theory, my memory includes the thirties, when WWII actually started in Asia as well as Europe.)

Before I began to write the novel, I knew the characters would include a member the upper ‘noble’ class, a merchant, a farmer and a Japanese-American sent to Japan to be “finished” and trapped there by the war. I knew a murder would be committed fifty years later, I knew who would be killed and I knew who would do it. I also knew the motive would be something that happened in the war. It wasn’t until I was nearly three-fourths of the way through the first draft of the novel that I knew what that motive was.




Although a west-coaster by birth, marriage, and preference, I’ve lived in many places, including nearly four years in Japan. That rich experience led me to write Echoes from a Falling Bridge, Harvest the Wind, and Lotus Blossom Unfurling. 


Praises from readers:

 “I never doubted for a moment that you authentically represented the emotions, conditions, military actions and family relationships.”  
(Dr. Austin Connolly)

“I was very moved by the depth of your feeling for Japanese life.  You made the time and place come alive vividly.”
(Norm Weinstein, Humanities professor at Boise State University)

“It is clear you know your subject matter well.  The atmosphere is rich and encompassing.  The story is fascinating and engaging, and the character concepts are great.”
(Amazon.com  reader)


"He sat on the bench at the edge
of his garden. The smell of wood
smoke hung in the air, mingling
with the rich clay soil at his feet
and the aroma of ripening apple
from the tree at the side
of the house."

"When first called up, he’d been anxious, frightened even, about
what lay ahead.  He’d felt the prick
of excitement, too, wondering if
he had what it took to be a soldier,
what war would be like, if there’d
be women.

"Although no one spoke, the total silence of one hundred-fifty
men passing through the dark
was not possible. A twig snapped. Fabric rubbed against
fabric. A rifle butt clinked against
a canteen. Someone slipped
and uttered a whispered curse." 








CONTENTS: Two-Hearted Crossing
Home Patrimony
About Echoes from a Falling Bridge
Books Harvest the Wind
Media Lotus Blossom Unfurling
Contact Queenie's Place
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