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Gunard Nagin, the main character in this book, is a complex character, romantic and cerebral.  He lives his life in a constant state of war, torn between these polarizing states, until he discovers that this polarization is cultural and phenomenomical.  He questions both Kierkegaard's and Nietzsche's ethical and aesthetic ideas.  In the realization that both these ideas are bogus, he tries to live a life that he considers valid.  In the course of which, he encounters three loves, from diverse backgrounds, which offer him a challenge in more ways than the reader could imagine.

There is Desirée, who is demure and sensible.  But when a hurtful thing happens to her, she falls back upon her tradition.  There is Kaori, a Japanese woman planted in a foreign soil, who is willing to agree with the ideas of Gunard.  But she was not willing to go all the way.  And finally, there is Gabriella, a modern woman devoid of the Past, groping her way in a world that is stripped culturally bare by her own volition.  

Would Gabriella offer the solution Gunard was seeking?  Are these three women faithful to the past, present and future states?  What does Gunard get from all this?  Is aesthetic living a state of immediacy and ethical living a state of permanence?  If we strip an event of its pastness, what ethical value would that event have?  What does the birth of the girl, Nozomi, contribute to this drama?  Is Gunard just a confused person?

For answers, read 'When Maples Blush' from cover to cover.  In the process, enjoy the sweet and lyrical qualities of the book.

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