Wasabi for Breakfast

Foumiko Kometani, Author, Mary Goebel Noguchi, Translator
Foumiko Kometani, trans. from the Japanese by Mary Goebel Noguchi. Dalkey, $15 trade paper (208p) ISBN 978-1564788641
Reviewed on: 04/08/2013
Release date: 04/01/2013
Open Ebook - 119 pages - 978-1-56478-966-2
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Writer and painter Kometani brings her artist's eye for detail in the two novellas collected here. Megumi, the central character in "Family Business" is, like Kometani, a Japanese American. When the 58 year-old artist returns to Japan to set up gallery showings, she quickly becomes embroiled in family business with a feisty 87 year old grandmother as well as a search for a rebellious nephew, Ichiro, who has dropped out of college and run away from home. Megumi mirrors the universal immigrant experience in that she still feels an outsider in California but also experiences culture shock in Japan after her long absence. Kometani employs the second novella, ("1,000 Fires Raging", as a vehicle for her outspoken denunciation of every face of discrimination and racism. Here, Yu, a Japanese-American Californian becomes both fearful and angry when race riots erupt throughout Los Angeles. Although her rage is strongly visceral, it becomes almost humorous when she projects it onto her injured, chauvinistic American husband. Kometani's sly humor and strong sense of place balance her outspoken and unflinching criticisms of both Japanese and American culture and politics. (Apr.)
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