From Publishers Weekly
Imbued with the serenity of authority, these stories ably conduct the reader through the Japanese experience in America, from the oil fields of Redondo Beach to the internment camps of WW II, through the lives of young and old as they confront American customs, manners and culture. Yamamoto's stories also depict the stained relationships between Japanese immigrants and the nisei (American-born Japanese). Yet the author does not confine herself to ethnic issues. In "The High-Heeled Shoes: A Memoir," for example, the subtle forms of sexual harassment are delineated; a woman's obsession with expressing herself through the condensed poetry of haiku, and her husband's objections are explored in the title story. The inexplicable tragedies of everyday lifean inconsolable mourner, a desertion by a friend, the endless quest for an illusory prosperity (as in the stories "The Brown House" and "Las Vegas Charley)are underscored by a forlorn nostalgia for a history and a culture that fails to be transmitted from one generation to the next. Yamamoto, the daughter of Japanese immigrants, makes a welcome American debut.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Written between 1948 and 1987, Hisaye Yamamoto's stories cover many issues, from sexual harassment and the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II to a simple, magical tale of growing up. A recurrent theme is the experience of Japanese-American women: women often living in isolation, women caught between the traditional world of their husbands and their children's western values and identities. Always these stories are about the living of life, its movement and motion: "But reading is reading, talking is talking, thinking is thinking, and living is different." Hisaye Yamamoto's people carve out an existence on the fringes of American culture, compelling readers to think deeply about situations that may or may not be the same as their own. For her tender, revealing stories, Hisaye Yamamoto was awarded the 1986 American Book Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Before Columbus Foundation. -- For great reviews of books for girls, check out Let's Hear It for the Girls: 375 Great Books for Readers 2-14
. -- From 500 Great Books by Women; review by Holly Smith