Rosebud and Other Stories

Wakako Yamauchi, Author
Wakako Yamauchi, Univ. of Hawaii, $19 trade paper (144p) ISBN 978-0-8248-3260-5
Reviewed on: 11/29/2010
Release date: 01/01/2011
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The internment of Japanese-Americans during WWII forms the bitter knot around which Yamauchi's characters fashion their lives in this reflective, late-career collection of elegiac tales about the sorrowful mismanagement of love, marriage, motherhood, and friendship, sewn through with the grit of hard-won experience. The title story tracks the lives of two young Nisei (first-generation Japanese-American) women—one a "country clod," and the other the adorable, proficient Marian—who finally compare the bumps and unraveling in their long journeys. Similarly, in "Pain and Stuff," the narrator and her occasional friend Maisie wonder how "Nisei ladies... all seem to have such great lives" until repercussions from divorce, suicide, and heartbreak crack the surface. Many of the stories have an autobiographical bent (Yamauchi was sent to an internment camp during the war), such as "Onna," and recount again and again the trauma of itinerant farm families during the Depression, and the shame of internment and racism in America, all handled, admirably, with an unfussy accessibility and low-key forthrightness. (Jan.)
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