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Synopsis

Toyo learned to ask nothing, to wait and count the days. But they passed and passed and still the doorway remained empty of his deep voice, calling out her name.

Blending the intimacy of memoir with an artist's vision, Toyo is the story of a remarkable woman, a vivid picture of Japan before and after war, and an unpredictable tale of courage and change in todays Australia.

Born into the traditional world of pre-war Osaka, Toyo must always protect the secret of her parents' true relationship. Her father lives in China with his wife; her unmarried mother runs a café. Toyo and her mother are beautiful and polite, keeping themselves in society's good graces.

Then comes the rain of American bombs. Toyo's life is uprooted again and again. With each sharp change and painful loss, she becomes more herself and more aware of where she has come from. She finds family and belief, but still clings to her parents' secret.

In Toyo, Lily Chan has pieced together the unconventional shape of her grandmother's story. Vibrant and ultimately heart-rending, Toyo is the chronicle of an extraordinary life, infused with a granddaughter's love.

Lily Chan was born in Kyoto, raised in Narrogin and now resides in Melbourne. Toyo was the recipient of the 2010 Peter Blazey Fellowship for a manuscript-in-progress.

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