Saturday, October 17, 2020

The Color of Air by Gail Tsukiyama


I received an uncorrected proof in paperback of The Color of Air by Gail Tsukiyama through the Goodreads Giveaways program for FREE earlier this year. I've wanted to read a novel by Gail Tsukiyama since the mid to late 1990s, so I was thrilled to finally read one of her novels this year!

Below is my honest, unbiased review of The Color of Air by Gail Tsukiyama.

I truly enjoyed reading The Color of Air by Gail Tsukiyama!! The Color of Air is a work of historical fiction set in Hilo, Hawaii. It's a very atmospheric read weaving many elements of island life for Japanese-Americans whose lives are tied to working on the sugar plantations or fishing for a living. The eruption of the Mauna Loa volcano near the start of the novel plays a large role in the novel as well.

I enjoyed reading about the lives of the main characters Daniel, Koji, and Mariko as well as those of the supporting characters too. Gail Tsukiyama's writing is really good. I love the short, tight chapters and the juxtaposition of past and present in The Color of Air.

Below is the plot summary for The Color of Air by Gail Tsukiyama from Goodreads:
From the New York Times bestselling author of Women of the Silk and The Samurai's Garden comes a gorgeous and evocative historical novel about a Japanese-American family set against the backdrop of Hawai’i's sugar plantations.

Daniel Abe, a young doctor in Chicago, is finally coming back to Hawai'i. He has his own reason for returning to his childhood home, but it is not to revisit the past, unlike his Uncle Koji. Koji lives with the memories of Daniel’s mother, Mariko, the love of his life, and the scars of a life hard-lived. He can’t wait to see Daniel, who he’s always thought of as a son, but he knows the time has come to tell him the truth about his mother, and his father. But Daniel’s arrival coincides with the awakening of the Mauna Loa volcano, and its dangerous path toward their village stirs both new and long ago passions in their community.

Alternating between past and present—from the day of the volcano eruption in 1935 to decades prior—The Color of Air interweaves the stories of Daniel, Koji, and Mariko to create a rich, vibrant, bittersweet chorus that celebrates their lifelong bond to one other and to their immigrant community. As Mauna Loa threatens their lives and livelihoods, it also unearths long held secrets simmering below the surface that meld past and present, revealing a path forward for them all.
I am giving The Color of Air by Gail Tsukiyama a rating of 4 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!


  1. This sounds like an interesting read!

  2. I have never read a novel like this. I surely need to try one day to get out of my comfort zone :)

  3. This seems like a very interesting premise for a novel and obviously it must have bee well-executed to earn four stars from you. Interesting review.

  4. I JUST heard about this book today. It sounds fantastic, especially since I've enjoyed other books by this author. My brother lives in Hilo as well, so I'm excited to learn more about it. Glad you enjoyed this one!

  5. I have this one on my TBR. She is an excellent writer.