Monday, December 21, 2009


I just finished David Mura's FAMOUS SUICIDES OF THE JAPANESE EMPIRE.  I have to read for a living, so it's rare these days that I read for pleasure...usually, on a sort of busman's holiday, I read while on vacation.  I picked up his book because it has a great cover, a Roger Shimomura painting that's as haunting and evocative as Mura's book, and the plot description on the back mentions that the protagonist's father was a No No Boy.  It's full, it's complicated, and I love his voice, but the main reason I mention it here (besides recommending that you read it) is that it's got some passages that capture how I feel about our shared history.  There's one in particular that I wanted to quote, but I tracked him down and asked his permission, so I suppose the decent thing to do is wait, even though I can't imagine he'd object to it.

I'm going to quote a much shorter passage here, and if he objects and says, "Who the hell are you and no, you can't quote me on your damn blog", I'll just take it down.  If, instead he says, "Sure, what the hell", well, you can get an idea of why I want to quote a much longer passage that speaks to why it is I think it is important for us all to keep looking for our various and shared past:

"Perhaps if I could have kept imbibing that special nisei elixir of forgetting, I wouldn't have felt so lost all these years; I wouldn't have needed to ride into my own Western sunset like this.  (...) So here I am, still trying to remember, to track down all that's eluded me.  Or that I have eluded." -- David Mura, FAMOUS SUICIDES OF THE JAPANESE EMPIRE

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