Discussing Kaoru Mori’s “A Bride’s Story”
Posted December 22, 2014on:
My husband reads a lot of manga, and lately he’s really been talking up A Bride’s Story by Kaoru Mori. I kept bugging him to write me a guest post about it, but he wasn’t sure what to say or how to say it. To help him out, I gave him some guided questions to get the conversation and the review going. (and don’t tell anyone, but this is an exercise I do with myself any time I’m stuck on how to review something!)
Andrea: What is the plot of A Bride’s Story?
Michael: A Bride’s Story is a manga about the lives and marriages of several women along the Silk Road in the late 19th century. Amir Halgal is the first ‘bride’ and is interesting as she comes from a semi-nomadic clan but marries into a settled clan living in a relatively modern town.
Andrea: How did A Bride’s Story come to your attention? What made you interested in reading this?
Michael: A Bride’s Story was recommended by a reviewer I follow. I am a historian so anything about a past time and in an unusual place will catch my attention. I had heard of Kaoru Mori’s earlier manga Emma so I new the author was interested in detailed, accurate historical fiction.
Andrea: Why was it enjoyable to read? What (if anything) were you surprised by?
Michael: I loved the attention to detail, the look at the day-to-day life of the main characters, and the exploration of a different culture and time period. I guess I was surprised by the author’s attention to detail about small things such as wood carving and weaving. All of the brides are distinct personalities so some stories have more humour some more jeopardy.
Andrea: It’s a historical narrative. do you think the author got the history right? Do you think this story shows a historical community in an accurate fashion?
Michael: I think in most ways the history is correct, I think that many East Asians have a hard time understanding a monotheistic religion and possibly this is why the religion of the area is so glossed over.
Andrea: Do you have a favorite scene? Do you have a favorite character?
Michael: Amir Halgal, the first bride, is an amazing character. She is strong, proud, shy, unsure, talented and learning. The twins later are hilarious in their attempts to find rich husbands.
Andrea: You mentioned something about how the title of the series was misinterpreted. Can you tell us a little more about that?
Michael: The books are marketed by Yen Press as ‘A Bride’s Story’. A Japanese speaker I am acquainted with said that ‘Bride’s Stories’ would be more accurate. This matters because some readers have been bothered by switching main characters in various volumes. The story always comes back to Amir but there have been 4 or 5 other bride’s stories told as well. In romanized Japanese it is Otoyomegatari.
Andrea: The artwork of this series is just gorgeous. How would you say the artwork in this series is different from other manga artwork you’ve seen?
Michael: Like any other business, being a writer needs to be profitable. Kaoru Mori, the Mangaka, gives the reader art of a quality that has simply never been done before. She could undoubtedly write more and make more money but she chooses to give the reader sumptuous art work bringing 19th century Central Asia to life.
Andrea: Was there anything about the series you didn’t enjoy?
Michael: This is a minor problem for me, I wish the author would spend more time with Amir and her husband. I enjoy the other brides but Amir is my favorite.
Andrea: Who would you recommend A Bride’s Story to?
Michael: Anyone who is interested in another time or place, anyone interested in romance, art, crafting, particularly hand crafts, or a story about multi-faceted women would enjoy this book series. Anyone who is only comfortable in modern America or modern Western Europe would probably be uncomfortable as it is about a different culture and time.
Andrea: The name is “A Bride’s Story”. So, are there weddings? Were they interesting to read about? How did the author handle the visuals?
Michael: Amir’s wedding is as the book starts but the twins in particular have their wedding shown in incredible detail. The twin’s wish there was less detail….
Andrea: thanks sweetie! this went so well, I think I’ll do it again. In fact, I’ll probably drag you into a guided conversation like this every time you’ve got something to recommend! Also, I want all of these outfits.