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Epitaph for a Peach: 04/10/09
Epitaph for a Peach by David Mas Masumoto comes in the middle of his writing career but is one of the fist books he wrote after taking over the family farm. Much of his apprehension and frustration is recorded in this memoir but structurally it has many similarities with Four Seasons in Five Senses (2003).
The book starts as he's pulling out the oldest of his peach trees and he's not sure of his future as an organic farmer. He laments over the development of new varieties of peaches that ripen earlier and sameness of mass produced produce. The negative tone to the book took me by surprise in comparison to the quiet and poetic opening of Four Seasons...
After that initial chapter the memoir falls into the same structure as Four Seasons... by following the seasons as he reminisces over his life on the farm and how his new way of doing things compares to how his father did things. He starts with spring and ends with winter.
The similar structure made for an easy read but it wasn't as enjoyable or savory as Four Senses... Clearly in Epitaph for a Peach Masumoto was still finding his place as an organic farmer and his voice as a writer of quiet memoirs. Had I read Epitaph first I would have enjoyed it more than I did reading it second.