John Okada: The Life and Rediscovered Work of the Author of No-No Boy (Scott and Laurie Oki Series in Asian American Studies) Paperback – July 3, 2018
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"Combining an extensive biographical treatment of Okada (1923–71), recovered works by Okada, and critical essays, John Okada offers an innovative introduction to the Japanese American author. . . . Recommended."―Choice
"Thanks to the recent publication of a collection of previously unknown writings by
"This volume reminds us of the key place of Okada's novel in the development of Asian American literary history. It makes us consider literary history more cogently, locating No-No Boy as both a literary artifact and as political and social intervention. By proposing new ways of reading and understanding elements―even controversial ones―in the text, this collection of essays highlights how novels that engage history continue to be relevant for new generations."―Rocio G. Davis, author of Relative Histories: Mediating History in Asian American Families
"Finally, a book that unravels the enigma of John Okada and contextualizes his classic novel. A profound and thorough collection of work that was a joy to read."―Jamie Ford, author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
"Thrilling! A relevant and long-awaited exploration of an American literary hero, John Okada."―Naomi Hirahara, Edgar Award Winner
"A moving, comprehensive, and wonderfully readable tribute to a pioneer of Asian American literature. John Okada: The Life and Rediscovered Work is part eulogy, part pedagogy, part literary excavation, and part scholarly compendium. These editors, scholars and writers have created a monument that will keep John Okada's work relevant and his legacy alive."―Ruth Ozeki, author of A Tale for the Time Being
"John Okada is perhaps still the greatest voice to have reached print from our community. Frank Abe has authored a fine and corrective biography, and the editors have assembled a festschrift of illuminating essays that demonstrate the significance of Okada's work and its pertinence to our time. This book is a treasure and a compelling tribute to our first literary master. Yes-yes!"―Garrett Kaoru Hongo, author of Coral Road
- Item Weight : 1.15 pounds
- Paperback : 376 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0295743514
- ISBN-13 : 978-0295743516
- Dimensions : 6 x 1 x 8.9 inches
- Publisher : University of Washington Press (July 3, 2018)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,292,524 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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The best piece is the biographical essay by Frank Abe, “An Urgency to Write”. The episodes recounted from John Okada’s life, the recollections of his family and acquaintance very much create the picture of someone passionate from an early age about literary creation and finding a unique voice and vision of the world. His history confirms for me how literary his outlook really was, even when forced to make his living at non-literary jobs and to devote his time to being a good husband, father, co-worker. How tantalizing to consider what it must have been like for someone with his sensibilities to be living in New York when he did, some of the best American writing was going on there at the time. And how important it was for him to be able to leave that behind, to live in the “normalcy” of Detroit to be able to construct much of his book.
That his outlook was so literary tends to confirm my view that nothing in his novel was placed there by chance or without being intended to further a specific literary agenda. He knew exactly how Japanese American readers who respond to the phrases “No No” and “No No Boy”. There’s some suggestions in the life story you’ve recounted about how the structure of “No No Boy” becomes a large circular tour, beginning and ending in Seattle (just as his time in Relocation and federal prison is a circular tour) before he has some glimmer of what he has to do with the rest of his life. A lot of people die in the 220 pgs, there are a lot of “no’s” in the story, as you point out. Each death, even the death of people he admires, he recognizes as a path which he can’t follow. There are no easy or complete resolutions or reconcilations. But Ichiro is seeing maybe a path for himself at the end.
Of the other pieces, I like Stephen Sumida’s the best. His thoughts about “No No Boy” come from his close reading and analysis of the actual text of the novel, he is not looking at it the through the lenses of any particular theory or approach to literary criticism or history. Jeffrey Yamashita’s article reviews critics who have done just that, all the “schools” of thought on literature created by ethnic and historically oppressed minorities, interesting, but making me think I made the right decision for myself not to accept the offer of a graduate school fellowship and admission to a PhD program I received when I was a senior in college.
All these essays I will be re-reading in the days to come. And good literary criticism always makes a reader want to return to the subject of the analysis, I’ve gone back and re-read many passages of No No Boy in the past several days. I envy those who may be inspired by Frank Abe’s anthology to read John Okada’s “No No Boy” for the first time.