The Teahouse of the August Moon
Author: Vern Sneider
Publisher: Signet S1348
Year: 1956 Print: 1 Cover Price: $.35
Condition: Good Plus. Wear. Reading crease.
American-style democracy and capitalism come to the sleepy village of Tobiki in this uplifting comedy of cultural conflict set on Okinawa at the end of World War II.
The hapless Captain Fisby, with the help of his local interpreter, Sakini, is implementing the U.S. Army’s Plan B, which includes establishing a Women’s League for Democratic Action and building a pentagon-shaped schoolhouse where the children will learn English.
When Fisby mistakenly accepts a gift of souvenirs in the form of two geishas, life in the village and his plans for it spin out of control. The vainglorious area commander, Colonel Wainwright Purdy III, sends a spy to Tobiki to discover what is going on.
This immensely likeable satire of the American civilizing mission was a phenomenon when it was published in 1951. An award-winning play and hit movie of the same name soon followed. The many-layered novel retains its charm and power today; beneath the comical mayhem that engulfs Tobiki we see the pitfalls and possibilities of cultural exchange.
Author Vern Sneider drew directly on his personal experiences as the military administrator in charge of the Okinawan village of Tobaru. This new Camphor Press edition features an introduction revealing the autobiographical elements in Sneider’s masterpiece and its important place in post-war American literature.