Tuesday, May 10, 2005

from "Snow Falling on Cedars" by David Guterson

She learned that her hair was utsukushii and that to cut it would be a form of heresy. It was a river of iridescent onyx- Mrs Shigemura described it in Japanese- the salient feature of her physical being, as prominent and extraordinary as baldness might have been in another girl of the same age. She had to learn that there were many ways to wear it- that she might tame it with pins or weave it in a thick plait hanging over one breast or knot it intricately at the nape of her neck or sweep it back in such a manner that the broad, smooth planes of her cheeks declared themselves. Mrs S. lifted Hatsue's hair in her palms and said its consistency reminded her of mercury and that Hatsue should learn how to play her hair lovingly, like a stringed musical instrument or a flute. Then she combed it down Hatsue's back until it lay opened like a fan and shimmered in unearthly black waves.


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