A Bride’s Story Volume 9
Following on from the previous book, we continue with the story of Pariya’s engagement in A Bride’s Story volume 9. (That’s her on the cover, expressing her feelings through the symbolism of bread designs in her typically brash manner.)
I suspect many readers can identify with her. She cares strongly, but she doesn’t know how to express herself in a culturally appropriate fashion. She’s got a friend who seems to naturally know how to say the right things, making people feel better and who is praised for her politeness, but that makes Pariya just feel more wrong.
She knows she has to be circumspect with her questions about her intended, because that’s her culture, but she’s not very good at being sneaky. She doesn’t know how to say things properly, so she gets tongue-tied, which makes people think she’s angry or rude. It’s a good thing she and her fiancé are so well-suited to each other. They get to know even more about each other when an emergency delays them on a trip and they have to be creative with problem-solving.
Her betrothed, Umar, likes her strength and direct manner, reassuring her of their match. Now it’s just a matter of getting their fathers to agree. There’s a wonderfully illustrated, hilarious chapter of Pariya hanging around her father’s makeshift stall, pretending to help in order to overhear his discussion with Umar’s dad. Her father doesn’t realize what she needs, instead focusing on doing business and wondering when she keeps popping up from hiding behind him. It’s a silly but telling combination of her inclination to take action with her inability to speak directly.
It’s impressive to me how foreign this setting is, with its tribes and nomads and codes of hospitality and rules of male-female behavior, and yet how universal Kaoru Mori makes the people and their emotions. It’s even more impressive the detail with which she lovingly delineates the clothes and settings, building a rich world.
A Bride’s Story only comes out every year or so, but each volume is worth sinking into.