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Chizuru 1945 by Donald J. Mangus
 Music Professor Charles Danbury and young Sadako cross paths a decade after the bomb was dropped on Japan.

Chico-based plastic and reconstructive surgeon Don Mangus has penned a haunting fantasy about the aftermath of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Chizuru 1945 interweaves the story of "Professor Charles Danbury" with the spirit of composers Charles E. Ives and Bela Bartok.

It is also the story of "Sadako," (Faithful Child) and the legend of Chizuru (Thousand Cranes). "In Japan, tradition says that if one unfolds one thousand Origami Cranes, their wish is granted." But "ten years after the great bomb exploded over Hiroshima, a young girl named Sadako died of leukemia, one of the complications of exposure to massive doses of radiation. She was two years old when the bomb was dropped." Sadako died before a thousand cranes could be unfolded, but she mysteriously appears to Professor Danbury to encourage him to write a sonata for her.

She helps Dansbury to overcome viewing himself as a "hopeless cripple," though his contorted left hand left him unable to master a musical instrument. Instead, he became a music teacher and composer. In one of her appearances, Sadako assures Danbury: "You are complete, Professor Danbury. There is no part of you which is not complete." With that, she took my arm and held it firmly.

It is late in 1944. One day the two, walking together, saw a "wedge of geese. Sadako shouted the word 'Chizuru!' and began to cry. "It is too soon," she cries, "yet so late," "There is a terrible storm," she says. "It is growing closer. I see a great, boiling sea. Everywhere, there are eyes -- horrified eyes! Some are burning! Hot wind is tearing at the trees -- the buildings, the people! And, oh! The children!!"

Mangus insists that much of Chizuru 1945 is based on truth. Mangus, we're told in an author's note, "has travelled since 1973" around the world amassing "a lifetime of experience with victims of war, trauma and disease.

"As past founder and director of a Northern California burn center, he reflects in this book his great feelings for the victims of the sometimes violent and tragic side of the human experience."

An aura of Fate or Predestination hangs over the book, but the author is determined to find redemptive meaning in the tragedy of war. His is not a political tract, but a memoir of the human spirit in its ability to inspire, and a reminder that the horrible flames that engulf life can also at times be a refining fire. --Dan Barnett, "Biblio file"

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Order Chizuru 1945, ISBN 1887733000, $11.95

Order Chizuru 1945 by Donald J. Mangus

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