Haru is a unique, moving novel, a universal and magical story steeped in oriental culture. It is a tale of learning, whose heroine discovers that nothing is easy and that moving forward in life requires patience, steadfastness and the wisdom of the masters.
Haru is 15 years old when her father, a teacher of calligraphy and a strict man, sends her to an archery dojo. He is fulfilling the wish of her mother, who on her deathbed tells her that she must not be a nuisance to her father and that she must learn the discipline and the art of archery. Haru agrees against her will but does not understand her mother’s demand. She does not even have time to miss her as she has to grab a few belongings and hurry to the dojo. There she will meet three teachers and seven pupils. She will spend a few years there in a continual inner struggle between the acceptance of her masters’ teachings and the knot that she has been dragging in her soul ever since she left home.
When the apprenticeship is finished, and the pupils have learnt the discipline of archery – the discipline of life- they leave the protective dojo and have to face up to modern life. Their destinies interweave and this shows how the vicissitudes of life can shape the purest soul. Haru starts working as an apprentice to an old man who calls himself a master shoemaker. She spends a few more years there but in the end the years of emptiness and lack of contact with her father weigh heavily on her and her life goes off the rails. Or rather it gets back on them, as she says. She forgets the teachings and the discipline and becomes attracted to material goods. Haru’s life will only make sense when she comes full circle, when she realizes that in order to leave home, you must first return. And forgive.
“Without professing any religion and following only her own intuition, Company portrays the Orient as a metaphor of the necessity to make a change and to learn.”
“In the style of tales, which do not claim to be a part of any period of time but belong to all. This is shown in the choice of a story pertaining to the Oriental tradition of sinuous apprenticeship which should find its conclusion in the acquired wisdom.”