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Through exploring her family's archive of letters and other documents, Yamashita creates a powerful dialog between herself and her past, including her family's experience in the WWII Japanese internment camps, how they reacted, how they coped, and how they moved on when they got home. More than just a memoir, this book teaches by example a new kind of relationship you can have with your familial, national, and cultural story. This is an important book.
Josh— From Letters to Memory
Praise for Karen Tei Yamashita:
"It's a stylistically wild ride, but it's smart, funny and entrancing." --NPR
"Fluid and poetic as well as terrifying." --New York Times Book Review
With delightful plays of voice and structure, this is literary fiction at an adventurous, experimental high point." --Kirkus
"Magnificent. . . . Intriguing." --Library Journal
"This powerful, deeply felt, and impeccably researched fiction is irresistibly evocative." --Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Letters to Memory is an excursion through the Japanese internment using archival materials from the Yamashita family as well as a series of epistolary conversations with composite characters representing a range of academic specialties. Historians, anthropologists, classicists--their disciplines, and Yamashita's engagement with them, are a way for her explore various aspects of the internment and to expand its meaning beyond her family, and our borders, to ideas of debt, forgiveness, civil rights, Orientalism, and community.
Karen Tei Yamashita is the author of Through the Arc of the Rain Forest, Brazil-Maru, Tropic of Orange, Circle K Cycles, I Hotel, and Anime Wong, all published by Coffee House Press. I Hotel was selected as a finalist for the National Book Award and awarded the California Book Award, the American Book Award, the Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association Award, and the Association for Asian American Studies Book Award.