Frances Itani. Atlantic, $24 (336p) ISBN 978-0-8021-2022-9
In a narrative that alternates between past and present, Canadian author Itani, winner of the Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Deafening, examines the internment of Japanese Canadian citizens during WWII and its impact on one family. In 1997, artist Binosuke Okuma drives from Montreal to the site of the camp on the Fraser River where his family has been interned when Bin was very young, and where his father made a decision that would cut him off from his family--and permit him to fulfill his potential as an artist. But at first memories of Bin's wife, Lena, who died of a stroke, chase him. Accompanied by his dog, Basil, and armed with tapes of Beethoven and a bottle of whiskey, Bin grapples with the anger and silence that swathe his experience of internment and separation—which his wife had urged him to address. After learning that his aging father sits in a chair facing the door, waiting for Bin's arrival not far from the location of the Fraser River camp, Bin must decide if he can return to the father who altered his fate, allowing him, he hopes, to keep going, as a son, an artist, a widower, and as a father himself who had built his own family far away from the broken histories buried at the camps. This sparse and melancholy meditation on family, history, and the healing properties of art addresses a little-known chapter in Canada's history, though Itani fails to bring those events and his characters fully to life. Agent: Westwood Creative Artists. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 10/15/2012
Release date: 08/01/2012
Hardcover - 336 pages - 978-1-4434-0689-5
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Ebook - 320 pages - 978-0-8021-9460-2
Ebook - 352 pages - 978-1-4434-0691-8
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