The East-West House

By Kirkus Reviews

Born in the United States to an American mother and a Japanese father, Isamu (Japanese for “Mr. Courageous”) traveled to his father’s homeland when he was only two. There, he and his mother were decidedly unwelcome; they were gaijin—foreigners. When his mother bought a small promontory of land in Chigasaki, Japan, Isamu, a thoughtful and gifted eight-year-old planned and supervised the construction of a distinctive new family home, one that, like Isamu, incorporated both Eastern and Western architectural elements. During the building of the house, he learned many valuable skills and honed his singular sensibility—one that informed his later work in stone, wood, metals and delicate rice paper. Hale’s striking illustrations and the book’s elegant look are an homage to the Japanese landscape; they masterfully reflect the palette and imagery of Japanese paintings and design (lacey evergreens, blue-grey seas, pink-white cherry blossoms and more). The appealing backmatter offers an informed and warm recap of Noguchi’s life and impact. A welcome entrée to one artist’s inspiration, aspiration and imagination.