cover image The Dream of Water: A Memoir

The Dream of Water: A Memoir

Kyoko Mori. Henry Holt & Company, $22.5 (275pp) ISBN 978-0-8050-3260-4

Twelve years after she fled her home in Japan to study in the United States, Mori, now married and teaching creative writing at St. Norbert College in Wisconsin, spends several weeks of her sabbatical revisiting the ``landscapes of my childhood.'' She has been unable to distance herself from the grief over her mother's long-ago suicide and the blame and hatred she feels for her cruel father. In Japan, she looks up old friends and relatives who might have provided more insight into her younger self and the events and characters that haunt her. But these people do little to change her feelings, and depressing visits with her cold father and detested stepmother make forgiveness impossible. But as she waits for her plane back to the U.S., she musters a symbolic gesture to close the book on these destructive relationships by throwing away the offensive parting gift of jewelry from her stepmother that earlier she had politely accepted. This beautifully written, troubling memoir by the author of a well-received first novel (Shizuko's Daughter) only infrequently rises above the private pain it attempts to exorcise. (Jan.)