The Zen of Fish: The Story of Sushi, from Samurai to Supermarket

The Zen of Fish: The Story of Sushi, from Samurai to SupermarketEverything You Never Knew About Sushi Its Surprising Origins, The Colorful Lives Of Its Chefs, The Bizarre Behavior Of The Creatures That Compose It Is Revealed In This Entertaining Documentary Account By The Author Of The Highly Acclaimed The Secret Life Of LobstersWhen A Twenty Year Old Woman Arrives At America S First Sushi Chef Training Academy In Los Angeles, She Is Unprepared For The Challenges Ahead Knives Like Swords, Instructors Like Samurai, Prejudice Against Female Chefs, Demanding Hollywood Customers And That S Just The First Two WeeksIn This Richly Reported Story, Journalist Trevor Corson Shadows Several American Sushi Novices And A Master Japanese Chef, Taking The Reader Behind The Scenes As The Students Strive To Master The Elusive Art Of Cooking Without Cooking With The Same Eye For Drama And Humor That Corson Brings To The Exploits Of The Chefs, He Delves Into The Biology And Natural History Of The Creatures Of The Sea He Illuminates Sushi S Beginnings As An Indo Chinese Meal Akin To Cheese, Describes Its Reinvention In Bustling Nineteenth Century Tokyo As A Cheap Fast Food, And Tells The Story Of The Pioneers Who Brought It To America He Shows How This Unlikely Meal Is Now Exploding Into The American Heartland Just As The Long Term Future Of Sushi May Be UnravelingThe Zen Of Fish Is A Compelling Tale Of Human Determination As Well As A Delectable Smorgasbord Of Surprising Food Science, Intrepid Reporting, And Provocative Cultural History

Is a well-known author, some of his books are a fascination for readers like in the The Zen of Fish: The Story of Sushi, from Samurai to Supermarket book, this is one of the most wanted Trevor Corson author readers around the world.

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  • Hardcover
  • 322 pages
  • The Zen of Fish: The Story of Sushi, from Samurai to Supermarket
  • Trevor Corson
  • English
  • 11 March 2019
  • 9780060883508

10 thoughts on “The Zen of Fish: The Story of Sushi, from Samurai to Supermarket

  1. says:

    Excellent book about sushi and masters who make it Great information about story of the sushi, toppings on it and other stuff related to sushi and Japanese food.

  2. says:

    My god, if Corson can write a book then anyone with a middle school education can too It s unbelievable that the NYTimes and others are actually quoted as favorably reviewing the book on the back cover Riveting says Publisher s Weekly Really His writing style is truly atrocious He sipped his sake and smiled Kate felt a rush of excitement End of chapter, as if that was a gripping sentence This clipped boring and choppy writing, added to his obsessive focus on Kate, one of the students in the sushi academy who is definitely not that interesting, really makes this book painful to read It does provide a lot of interesting information on sushi, fish, rice, and eating but my god you have to weed through a lot of junk to find it The book is about a sushi academy that Corson observes for months since his notes generated a lot of detailed observations, they form the bulk of the material for the book, to the detriment of the rest of the material If you read this, just skip to the substantive chapters, and avoid the restaurant gibberish.

  3. says:

    Forgive me if this review seems an agglomeration of tidbits, but I really enjoy little facts and pieces of information, and this book was riddled with them.I don t like fish and frankly the idea of eating it raw, no matter how trendy or gussied up it might be, roils my stomach Be that as it may, this is a fascinating story, following the ascent descent from a despised, lower class food to one prized by the elite Lobster made a similar journey it was once banned as food for prisoners in jail because it was considered so unseemly and dirty The story follows Kate at the California Sushi Academy where, a total neophyte, she has decided to learn how to make Sushi from the masters It has become less Japanese than international and some of the best chefs are from outside Japan But, I mean how hard can it be to roll up some raw tuna around rice Surprise, surprise.Interestingly, mold is key to Sushi rice and the particular mold strains are guarded in bank vaults or secret caves The mold is added to rice and eats it with such tremendous speed that if not properly controlled, the heat generated would overheat the incubator The moldy rice is then mixed with soybeans along with yeast, bacteria and salt The mush is shoveled into tubs where it sits for months where the digestive enzymes shorten time from 78 million years to seconds and generate amino acids It s the enzymes that we want to create glutamate important to human growth, brain development, etc Bear with me, I listened to this book on audio and am trying to recreate it from memory Anyway, to make a long, but interesting story short, the result is Miso for details see It s very nutritious and as a paste is used in soups and other dishes including, guess what, sushi The brown liquid at the edges of the Miso is soy sauce.Msg, monosodium glutamate, is heralded as one of the miracles of this process and an important ingredient in flavoring Usually associated with Japanese and Chinese food, it s ubiquitous ands manufactured by the ton, added to meats, chips, fast food, soups , and many other things it s hidden under the name hydrolyzed vegetable protein Western scientists had always assumed that the human tongue can taste only four flavors sweet, bitter, sour, and salty Asian scientists insisted there was another they called tastiness triggered by amino acids and was represented by the amino acid glutamate msg Recently scientists at UC San Diego have found specific receptors for this flavor Fresh water fish can be dangerous when used raw for sushi as it is likely to contain parasites that cause tapeworm Salmon and trout, in particular as notorious, and the only way to kill the parasites is by freezing at 31 F for 18 hours or for a week at 0 F Farmed salmon is not as dangerous filled as it is with PCBs and antibiotics Farmed salmon has 5 times the levels of PCB as wild salmon It takes 3 lbs of ground up fish meal to produce 1 lb of salmon In the wild they eat krill which gives the flesh its pink color much like flamingoes The fatty farmed salmon has become much popular with diners making chefs happy since it is much cheaper.Tuna pose their own special problems, in particular the Bluefin, largest of all the tuna and unusual in that it is warm blooded and therefore has to age longer, much like terrestrial animals before they are eaten Another issue is mercury Since underwater volcanoes and coal fired energy plants emit mercury which accumulates in the top of the food chain and Bluefin tuna which often reach 1,500 lbs are a top predator pregnant women are told not to eat Bluefin and everyone else is told no than once a week for any kind of tuna Some of the techniques to factory farm tuna are rather spectacular I ll resist the temptation to reveal a spoiler but will only say they involve mackerel and perhaps they might lessen the danger of eating mercury Another reason to avoid fish.The evolution of sushi is quite a story in itself, moving from rice being used to preserve fish and smelling like the vomit of a drunkard and being thrown out, to a situation where the rice is important than the fish Sushi chefs apprentice themselves for years to learn the secrets of good sushi rice I have some Norwegian in my genes, but there is no way you will ever get lutefisk literally lye fish past my nose A major role of the sushi chef is to scope out the customers and adjust the servings and consistency and appearance to the particular customer s taste I ll avoid a spoiler here and not reveal why it is that Americans will probably never get an authentic sushi the kind they are served would be rejected as inedible by most Japanese.I could go on and on Fascinating book Here s what Garrison Keillor has to say about it Every Advent we entered the purgatory of lutefisk, a repulsive gelatinous fishlike dish that tasted of soap and gave off an odor that would gag a goat We did this in honor of Norwegian ancestors, much as if survivors of a famine might celebrate their deliverance by feasting on elm bark I always felt the cold creeps as Advent approached, knowing that this dread delicacy would be put before me and I d be told, Just have a little Eating a little was like vomiting a little, just as bad as a lot.

  4. says:

    If I had to give a 6 word review for this, it would be good with fish, bad with people This book talks about sushi, from its origins to how it s evolved over time If you re a sushi aficionado, this is a great resource It will help turn you into a mildly annoying sushi snob to a supremely annoying sushi know it all You know, if that s what you re into It will probably also make you a savvy sushi eater You ll learn which fish are better, and why, and how to get good service from traditional Japanese sushi chefs hint don t be female, don t be American I had no idea of the concept of omakase, and wished that there were something like a traditional Japanese sushi bar in America Except maybe not so sexist and with food I like better, like something Mediterranean Let me start with what Corson does well Corson does fish well I loved, LOVED his sections that dealt with the history of how sushi was made I loved learning about how fish breaks down, about the organic chemistry behind the flavor profiles of the different types of fish I loved learning why the original sushi was buried in jars for a year, and why they stopped doing that I found the sociocultural history of sushi equally interesting why do we associate sushi with Japan and not Korea its country of origin This book will tell you all kinds of great facts If I cut and pasted this book so that it only included the sections about the fish itself, I would have given it four or five stars.Corson, unfortunately, interspaced his sections on sushi with chapters following a group of students at a sushi school in Los Angeles I say unfortunately, because these sections simply did not work for me Every time I went from a section about the habits of tai, or the amino acid breakdown in mackerel, I loved this book Every time he went back to talking about Toshi, Takumi, Zoran, Marcos and Kate, I wanted to stop reading These were so badly written, I felt like I was reading dialog from something written for not particularly discerning children.My dislike of the human centric sections bothered me, because I couldn t put my finger on what Corson was doing wrong I came up with a few things First of all, he uses far too many exclamation points It is certainly possible that this will not bother other readers, but when I read an exclamation point, I read that dialog as a shout Too many, and it makes me feel that the characters are bad voice actors in a low grade anime I also felt that some of the descriptions of how to make sushi were muddy I read the description of how to form rice into nigiri four or five times, and each time it was about as comprehensible as an audiobook on origami If a reader can t understand it, why include it at all Either write it clearer, include diagrams, or if it can t be described, omit it.Secondly, the dialog felt stilted Since the book has a dense and impressive bibliography, and since the fish centric research was so spot on, I will not accuse Corson of not exercising the same diligence when recounting dialog These are, presumably, real people who really did say these things Maybe it was too many words like blurted , snapped , bellowed , laughed , replied , answered, and retorted instead of said I think, primarily, it was just a poor choice of which dialog to include in the book Which brings me to the main problem with the human centric sections choice and treatment of characters There are a lot of scenes and dialog with the instructors and the students, but they re scattered, like the clippings left over from film footage after a few other producers have already taken the best bits Corson frequently tells us Kate thought x Or Zoron thought y, which just served to make the prose scattered, and made me feel even less of a connection to them I didn t get to know the people, and what I did get to know, I didn t care for The sushi school he wrote about had at least a dozen students, but Corson chose to focus on two and a half Marcos, Kate, and Fie Marcos is the teenage bro who is described as the sort of man who wears a baseball cap backwards Fie is the drop dead gorgeous Danish actress and model, who serves as the half character The main character is Kate Kate s a 20 year old California girl who decided to study sushi because she loved it and it had helped her put weight back on after a period of illness, so she credits sushi with saving her life.I don t know anything about the real Kate Maybe she s a charming and complex woman with a keen intellect and deep work ethic In this book, she came off as dumb and useless Maybe Corson was going for the sports movie story You know, where the kid with asthma, the black guy, the Jew and all the other misfits somehow pull together and create a winning team by the end of the movie, through the coaching of the iconoclast genius It didn t work for me Maybe I ve watched too many Top Chef episodes, because my opinion is that cooking is for tough, hungry, driven young people who thrive under pressure Kate can t keep her knives from rusting, she can t keep her uniform clean, and she freaks out when she s asked to gut a fish I understand the thrill of watching unlikely misfits pull together, but if you re squeamish about touching a dead fish when you ve SIGNED UP FOR SUSHI SCHOOL you are completely unqualified and should quit and do something easier.Why did Corson choose this person to focus on Did it have something to do with her pretty brown hair , the way she wrote love hearts above her name, or the way her pink thong showed above her jeans when she leaned over This book is about sushi, but it s also the story of these sushi students When Kate not only graduated, but went out in the world and found that most sushi chefs out there weren t nearly her equal in terms of technique and cleanliness, it did nothing to instill in me a respect for the art of sushi making That sushi chefs in Japan study for five years before being allowed to touch fish didn t counterbalance this disdain, it just made me wonder if maybe Japanese sushi instructors are really bad teachers You can learn to be a doctor in five years Can it really take that long to learn to cut apart stuff that s already dead I love science I love biology, I love cooking, and I love Japan I don t like sushi, but that s mostly because I don t like its smell, taste, texture or temperature This is a great book for anyone who likes any of those things Want to know about the life cycle of eels Great book Want to know why salmon is a bad choice for sashimi Great book Want to know why sushi is sweeter in Kyoto than Tokyo Great book For most people, I don t even think the human centric sections of this book will be enough to ruin it for you, because most people don t obsess over good characters, prose, and dialog as I do In fact, I liked this book enough that I think I ll look for his other book about lobsters just as long as there aren t any people in it.

  5. says:

    I feel a little bad about giving only two stars to a book which I quite enjoyed reading, but even as I was enjoying it I was getting frustrated with the lack of there there.There are two entwined parts of this book a documentary of a class of sushi chefs and a history natural history of sushi The structure followed a class structure, with a chapter discussing a different area of sushi rice, nori, various types of fish, and so on bracketed by scenes from the actual classroom of the students dealing with preparing these types of sushi Interspersed with these were documentary only short chapters following exciting moments for the class or the restaurant out of which the class was based, such as a catering job or a lunch rush at the student counter There were several characters in the documentary three students, one teacher, one former student and current chef, and the owner of all of them, only one student, Kate, really seemed to have a narrative, and it felt strongly unresolved at the end of the book, especially given the precarious career opportunities described by the epilogue A fiction book about any or all of these characters could easily have been fascinating, but the writer of this book didn t seem interested in drawing in any personal connections.The history natural history sections were satisfying There were Japanese food history lessons, American commerce history lessons, biology lessons on muscle types and bacteria and fermentation, and natural history lessons on the life cycles of the various fishes All of these were brief and fascinating An angle which I found particularly interesting was the emphasis on how understanding of bacteria and parasites and the ways to control this in food production had shaped and were still shaping sushi devlopement There were also occasional recaps of issues of the Sushi Chef Kirara s Job manga, made to sound quite boring And there was something which, perhaps, got under my skin than it should have as an American who eats a lot of sushi There was a strong message in this book which I am summarizing as American people don t understand sushi, and Japanese people can t be bothered to teach them American people spend too much money on bad sushi and Japanese people spend too much money on good sushi in short, American ignorant and Japanese snobby Ironically, several of the Japanese history lessons focus on the development of sushi as a fast, mass produced food, yet many of the American history lessons decry the same trend on the American side of the Pacific A number of asides discussed the correct way to eat sushi and the heart breaking ways in which Americans kept getting it wrong, yet all of the success stories in the book were of chefs who had blended Japanese and American cooking traditions together There even one digression into the ways in which Japanese sushi is changing so that some of the most purely traditional sushi is being made in America Another thing which got under my skin was the way in which gender discrimination was discussed Gender discrimination is shown as a big problem for female sushi chefs, and the author clearly thinks that this is both stupid some of the silly reasons for preventing women from working as sushi chefs are held up for ridicule and incomprehensible there s description but no real empathy or outrage The former student who was part of the documentary, Fie, faces a lot of fetishization as a beautiful woman working as a sushi chef the owner of the restaurant where she works jokes about staring at female customers breasts there s no connection drawn The current student, Kate, is turned down over and over for jobs, sometimes explicitly because she s a woman just like the protagonist of Sushi Chef Kirara s Job which clearly makes her furious, but there s no tonal shift in the narrative at all And here s Kate s success story Kate grew serious I had a really good time with you guys, especially being one of two girls In the end, Kate did feel like one of the guys, and it was clear that her classmates had accepted her p 303 So definitely an interesting book, but not one I particularly recommend unless you re planning to skim for the well written natural history.

  6. says:

    At times fascinating and insightful, other times annoyingly shallow in its presentation of the sushi phenomenon Much of the science and history of sushi is spot on and a joy to read about, but where Corson falls short is his examination of the realities of sushi culture in Japan today Understanding that his focus was on the California Sushi Academy, but to title your work The Story of Sushi one has to at least examine how the modern Japanese experience it Corson gives very little accurate insight in this regard Some of what he describes about sushi in Japan is just plain wrong If you ever spent anytime in Japan, and you love sushi like I do, some of these falsehoods and characteristics of Japanese sushi need to be addressed.1 Throughout the book Corson makes it seem as though sushi chefs are some kind of fish bartender psychologist The sushi chefs at the California academy yuk it up with customers, tell jokes, and drink with them In fact, quite a few pages of this book are filled with exchanges of Kanpai between chef and customer Well that might fly in America where we have come to expect a show thanks Benihana and want every restaurant to be a episode of Cheers , but in Japan it ain t happening Wait staff, chefs, and anyone working at a restaurant in Japan keep a fair bit of distance between themselves and the customer Friendly, diligent, and ready to fill the customers needs sure, but slapping them on the back and downing shots of sake with them, even with regular customers, is a real no no This is due to the culture of Japan and especially due to the fact that chefs wait staff don t have to impress for tips in Japan The last thing I would want anyone to think after reading this book is that that those kind of wild revelries are what the Japanese sushi experience is all about Please don t buy your sushi chef drinks in Japan, period.2 Corson also seems to imply that most Japanese enjoy visiting their neighborhood sushi chef, some tiny five seat bar where everybody knows your name That might have held true at an earlier time, but for better or worse, Japan s modern sushi experience is built upon chain sushi restaurants Some of these are massive, like Sushi Zanmai, some are regional like Hokkaido s Toriton, some are chains of only a few locations You can find them in most cities and they draw a huge following Usually they are of the kaiten zushi variety The chefs at these places are very competent, not some twenty year old woman afraid to gut a fish a la Kate from the book In fact, near Tsukiji fish market some of the best sushi can be found at Sushi Zanmai and numerous smaller shops close to the inner market area Those two points being said, the book does do an excellent job of relating the history of sushi from the early days as a fish preserved for many months in rice to its modern incarnation in the late 1800 s as a street stall snack Corson also delves into the making of soy sauce, dashi, seaweed farming, and rice cultivation, revealing the very rich tapestry of Japanese flavors necessary for sushi This part of the book is wonderful, it s a shame that time could have been spent behind the Japanese sushi bar to give better context to the story Because of this omission, a better title might have been Sushi in America That would have given to whole book credence than the overtly bold The Story of Sushi , and would have given it three stars instead of two.

  7. says:

    Wow, this is a wealth of information Basically, it toggles between two things first, following one class of the California Sushi Academy focusing on three students in particular Kate a Midwestern girl , Takumi a shy former Japanese pop star , and Marcos a 17yo guy who thinks making sushi will get him laid and second, a history of sushi It was very skillfully done Somehow, even though the author was shadowing the class for 3 months and also appears to jump in their cars and follow them to lunch, because some conversations happen in those scenarios the author is almost entirely absent from the story Yet even in his absence, we don t lack for interesting people Or interesting facts Or sushi making tips I was inspired to make my own after reading this, and thanks to the explanations in the book, it went astonishingly smoothly SUSHI HISTORY sushi became affordable in 1600s when it was sold by food stands for workers rebuilding Edo after earthquake Sushi began as follows To preserve fish in the first millenium A.D., people would cover the fish with rice which would break down into sugar through fermentation, which kills bacteria Then months later, they d scrape the nasty smelly rice off and eat the fish aged sushi But as time went on, and class systems became robust and travel was efficient , wealthy people began to eat the fish earlier and earlier in the fermentation phase, until they were eating it when the fish was still quite fresh and the rice was still good to eat They realized the rice tasted good, a little vinegary, and began to eat it with the fish They called this ready raw sushi Eventually, rice vinegar was invented, and they realized they could just add rice vinegar to fresh rice and get the same taste Enter sushi as we know it RANDOM SUSHI FACTS sushi rolling bamboo mats look like window blinds because that s what were originally used nigiri means to squeeze the rectangle of rice together rice on the outside, seaweed nori on the inside is purely an American style It s called an inside out roll Traditional sushi has nori on the outside, rice inside cucumber maki is called kappa maki after kappas which are mythological creatures that live in ponds and eat children you may recognize them from the 3rd Harry Potter book The only thing they love than eating children is eating cucumber nobody who is authentically Japanese drinks sake with their sushi since sake is made from rice, it clashes with sushi Raw fish in sushi isn t actually raw or at least, it s not totally unprepared Traditionally, all of it should either be blanched or else marinated overnight in salt and vinegar both are employed to make the fish last longer and inhibit bacteria grwoth Salmon, in particular, should ALWAYS be frozen Nearly all salmon carry tapeworm or anisakis parasites traditionally, there are two main kinds of sushi kappa cucumber maki and tuna maki They re called thin rolls they re simple, only one ingredient So there, everyone who, when I say I love sushi, interject with Isn t vegetarian sushi an oxymoron No, you re an oxymoron See, one of the two traditional kinds of sushi is vegetarian.And while we re on the subject the term sushi refers not to fish, but to rice rice seasoned with rice vinegar, sugar, and salt Any food made with this seasoned rice can be called sushi, whether it involves fish or not RANDOM OTHER FACTS that fishy smell, the smell of the ocean, comes from algae which fish eat The compounds that give it that smell are bromophenols Mackeral, in Japanese, is referred to as hikari mono shiny skinned fish The phrase is used today to describe women who wear glitter and shiny clothes It s the same reason calling someone a mackeral in England meant they were a dandy, a man who dresses in a flashy way In France, calling someone a mackeral meant they were a pimp for similar reasons which is where we get the term mack daddy by the way I know you want to whip out that fun fact every day Freshwater eels might be the weirdest fucking animals Ever First, nobody had any idea how they bred They didn t even realize glass eels these tiny, transparent eels are actually the same species, just baby freshwater eels It wasn t until 1922 that it was discovered that ALL FRESHWATER EELS COME FROM THE BERMUDA TRIANGLE Okay, all freshwater eels in the Western Hemisphere The freshwater eels in the Eastern Hemisphere come from this one particular place in the Philippine Sea They then swim through the ocean and end up either in Europe or in North America The eel you find in German rivers came from the EXACT same place as the eel you find in Iowa How fucking wild is that Then after living their life in freshwater rivers, they swim back out to sea presumably to the Bermuda Triangle, though nobody s seen eels spawn , spawn, and die Like the reverse of salmon, who are born in rivers, live in the ocean, and return to the river But like, salmon come from lots of different rivers, whereas all eels come from the Bermuda Triangle.God is definitely fucking with us.

  8. says:

    Maybe I m reading too many books about food, but I m getting slightly tired of reading books where, in the Acknowledgements section, the first thing the authors do is thank Harold McGee Maybe I should just be re reading Harold McGee.The parts of Zen of Fish about the scientific composition about fish and the tradition of sushi are interesting, but the storyline that attempts to hold the book together is not Especially when the main protagonist is an Ally McBeal like woman whose greatest skills are that she can talk to the restaurant s American customers and decorate her sushi with little hearts I was especially irritated that the author didn t explain why the sushi restaurant he featured in his book failed all we hear is that they have night after night of full houses and then they have to close Contrast this with Michael Ruhlman s Reach of a Chef, which gives much greater insight into the nature of the modern restaurant industry, and Zen of Fish comes up short.

  9. says:

    This book was later republished as The Story of Sushi An Unlikely Saga of Raw Fish and Rice Neither is an accurate representation of the actual content of the book Expecting a nice history of sushi You won t really get it Instead, it s mostly about one particular class of an American sushi school that trains sushi chefs in three months There are scattered bits of historical information about sushi, and practical information about fish in general, but they re drowned out by the school storyline This wouldn t have been so bad if it were entirely focused on the actually interesting students Takumi, say, a former Japanese pop idol turned chef who has already mastered Italian cooking Or the Danish ex supermodel Or the never named pregnant woman who is unable to actually eat what she makes she spits it out Or anybody, really, except Kate I m not sure why the author chose to focus on her, except that she s cute he s quite eager that we know exactly what she wears in her off hours, especially that it s tight She doesn t know that much about sushi when she starts she thinks bonito flakes are bacon She doesn t know anything at all about cooking She s so afraid of her knives she holds them at the very tip of the handle I have no idea how she didn t cut something off of herself, holding her knives like that for over two months of the three month class She s shocked shocked and disgusted to learn that she ll have to cut up a whole fish She wants to be a sushi chef because it s yummy, she likes interacting with people, and she has absolutely nothing else to do with her life Now, I m happy that she s apparently doing well now But when I read about food, I want to see someone who is talented and devoted, not somebody who bungles her way to competence I guess she s still a sushi chef, but in all honesty, I don t care.

  10. says:

    The Zen of Fish had potential and I d probably have given it three or maybe even four stars if Trevor Corson hadn t made the terrible decision to talk to me as if I was in second grade Particularly in passages where he wrote about scientific processes e.g the amino acids that give fish their flavor and the processes that create them he used the kind of language you d expect from a tour guide giving a tour to class of small children I am sorry, but I don t think any second graders are likely to be reading this book Please, Mr Corson, learn to treat your readers with some respect In fact, I ve read the book Mr Corson references as his primary source for the scientific information It was pretty dry and technical in places, but definitely accessible It doesn t take baby talk to make science intelligible Aside from his failure with the science, Mr Corson made another mis step It reads as though he developed a crush on Kate, the sushi student who is the primary focus of the story All of a sudden half way through the book he suddenly starts talking way too much about her lovely hair in a way that is totally irrelevant and distracting.Too bad that a potentially fascinating topic was so abused.

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