Once, a Lotus Garden: And Other Stories

Jessica Saiki, Author New Rivers Press $7.95 (130p) ISBN 978-0-89823-087-1
Lunalilo, Hawaii, the small town that provides the site for these 20 tales is Saiki's Winesburg, Ohiowith a twist. The characters are Japanese-Americans trapped in a kind of cultural limbo. Neither completely Japanese nor completely American, they long for the ancient traditions of the old country while casting hopeful glances to all that's modern on the mainland. This internal conflict remains unresolved in the early vignettes set in the 1920s. But World War II causes the silent undercurrent of discontent and racial bigotry to erupt into the open. Saiki's most masterful works are set in wartime Hawaii and capture the dark anguish beneath the Japanese mask of reserve. Gently powerful, rich in detail, these stories give readers a glimpse into the delicate homes and polite, yet troubled, minds of a deeply sensitive people. (April)
Reviewed on: 03/31/1987
Release date: 04/01/1987
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