Gene Oishi NEWS
Hiroshi Kono is eight years old and just beginning to question the racial and economic inequities he sees around him when he and his family, along with 120,000 other Japanese Americans, are packed off to a concentration camp run by the US military. The Arizona desert in which Hiroshi and his family find themselves is a harsh and barren world that sets sibling against sibling, parent against child, and neighbor against neighbor in a complex grappling with duty and disappointment that will reverberate through the decades that follow. Sexual initiation, kabuki performances, all-night jam sessions in French jazz clubs, alcoholism, and the ever-present drumbeat of family form the backdrop against which Hiroshi, his siblings, and his parents struggle to define themselves. Whether describing Hiroshi’s tumultuous coming of age or excavating the generational grievances exacerbated by internment, author Gene Oishi gives heartbreaking and at times humorous context to the post-war decades of a family set adrift by its experiences during WWII. In this clear-eyed and meticulously observed first novel, Oishi weaves together Hiroshi’s story with those of his family members and community to create a densely textured portrait of the physical and psychological displacement brought about over time by the forced incarceration of Japanese Americans.