TLC Tour: The Gods of Heavenly Punishment

The Gods of Heavenly Punishment
by Jennifer Cody Epstein
W.W. Norton & Co. (2014)
384 pages
2 stars

The Gods of Heavenly Punishment spans the lives of multiple people before, during, and after WWII. The range of characters includes Japanese and American architects, ex-pats living in Japan, educated women who don’t fit in anywhere, American soldiers responding to Pearl Harbor, and more.

Yoshi, who seems to be the main character, is a child when we first meet her. She’s bright (knows three languages at a young age) and beautiful, and she’s the product of an unhappy marriage. Nursing her mentally ailing mother, she fends for herself during WWII in Japan.

Might SPOIL the plot here, y’all, so proceed at your own risk:

I’m trying to sum up this book, but finding it difficult. The reason I think is that the beginning of the novel is so scattered. It took me a long time to figure out the connection between the American family in the US and the Japanese family in Japan. And honestly the connection seems weak even after reading it. The ring that Cam is wearing when he’s murdered by Kenji, ends up on Yoshi’s finger and eventually leads her to find out that her father was a war criminal. Okay…? What impact does that have on her? She goes to find Cam’s wife and return the ring to her. And then the story ends.

Many novels have loose threads in the beginning, but they are all supposed to tie up in the end and offer some greater truth or understanding from that knot (if you’ll excuse my extended metaphor). So, I found it really frustrating when that wasn’t the case in this book.

Part of the reason I didn’t love this book was that I thought it was going to be about Japanese-American and Caucasian-American race relations during WWII. Though there was some mention of it, the characters took it as a fact rather than discussing it or thinking deeply about it. That whole horrible part of history is sort of glossed over in this book, which was really interesting considering the author’s choice of characters/settings. Anyway, you can see what other (arguably smarter) people thought of it in the links below!

godsphoto1-300x199About Jennifer Cody Epstein

Jennifer Cody Epstein is the author of The Gods of Heavenly Punishment and the international bestseller The Painter from Shanghai. She has written for The Wall Street Journal, The Asian Wall Street Journal, Self, Mademoiselle andNBC, and has worked in Hong Kong, Japan and Bangkok, Thailand.

Jennifer Cody Epstein’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Monday, January 13th:  No More Grumpy Bookseller

Monday, January 13th:  Now is Gone – giveaway

Tuesday, January 14th:  A Bookish Way of Life

Tuesday, January 14th:  Kritter’s Ramblings

Wednesday, January 15th:  Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Friday, January 17th:  The Best Books Ever

Sunday, January 19th:  Writer Unboxed – author guest post

Tuesday, January 21st:  Bookish Ardour

Wednesday, January 22nd:  Bookfoolery

Thursday, January 23rd:  She Treads Softly

Friday, January 24th:  A Reader of Fictions

Wednesday, January 29th:  Book-a-licous Mama

Thursday, January 30th:  Kahakai Kitchen

Tuesday, February 4th:  Cerebral Girl in a Redneck World

Wednesday, February 5th:  Bibliotica

Thursday, February 6th:  Lavish Bookshelf

Thursday, February 13th:  The Feminist Texican [Reads]

Friday, February 14th:  Books are the New Black

About Natalie Ramm

I read a lot, y'all.
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3 Responses to TLC Tour: The Gods of Heavenly Punishment

  1. Only 2 stars? I was actually interested to read more about WWII after The Book Thief and this one looks okay but I got discouraged with the 2 star rating.


  2. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this book for the tour.


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