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Volcano: A Memoir of Hawaii
     

Volcano: A Memoir of Hawaii

by Garrett Kaoru Hongo, Garrett Hango
 

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Part memoir, part Japanese American family chronicle, part luminous work of natural history, Volcano tells what happened when Hongo returned to his birthplace in Hawai'i, as a young man, to reclaim its dreamlike landscape and his own elusive past. A magnificant evocation of heritage and place.

Overview

Part memoir, part Japanese American family chronicle, part luminous work of natural history, Volcano tells what happened when Hongo returned to his birthplace in Hawai'i, as a young man, to reclaim its dreamlike landscape and his own elusive past. A magnificant evocation of heritage and place.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
My favorite kind of book is a poet's first prose work. The poet comes upon a story so large — his life, nature, history — hat he must break out of careful verse into the freedom of prose. William Carlos Williams, Rainer Maria Rilke, Sylvia Plath, Raymond Carver, Louise Erdrich — and now Garrett Hongo."

— Maxine Hong Kingston

"When I finished this brave and sharp story I wanted to start again because of the honesty in the author's voice and the many gifts — beautiful language, vivid and apt anecdotes, a novelist's narrative instinct — that await the reader. Garrett Hongo elucidates here a Dragon; he reveals intelligence as love. And he magics time."

— Barry Lopez

"In this memoir, the village of Volcano is both a place on the map and a beacon in the far more elusive terrain of a man's personal history. In charting that history, Garrett Hongo has produced a lyrical and penetrating work grafting intimate recollection with broad insight. He has aspired to Rousseau's standard for himself — and for all memoirists — to recount comprehensively 'what I have felt . . . and what my feelings have had me do.'"

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
On visits to and long stays in Hawaii, award-winning Japanese American poet Hongo (The River of Heaven), born in Hawaii but reared in Los Angeles, set out to understand his family and his heritage. Like many immigrant families intent on succeeding in America, his parents brushed aside their child's questions about their past. In his early 30s he visited Volcano, Hawaii, with his wife and young son, renting a cottage near Hilo, where his father had farmed and run a general store. There he felt ``as if I were entering a book about my own life.'' Overwhelmed by the paradisal landscape, ``a visual sonata, lavish and detailed as any jungle fantasy painted by Henri Rousseau,'' Hongo evokes its ecology, geology and ambience as he looks up relatives and friends of his parents, witnesses an eruption of Kilauea, walks on lava beds and through rain forests and visits Honolulu. He interweaves all this with his youthful experiences and puzzlement about L.A.'s Japanese American community, his struggle to become a poet against the wishes of his parents and his astonishment and anger on discovering racial discrimination. This memoir contrasts two worlds and comes to terms with both. (May)
Library Journal
Award-winning Japanese American poet Hongo tracks his roots back to Volcano, Hawai'i, where he was born.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780679767480
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
05/28/1996
Series:
Vintage Departures Series
Edition description:
REPRINT
Pages:
352
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.65(d)

Meet the Author

Garrett Hongo attended Pomona College, the University of Michigan, and the University of California at Irvine, where he received a Master of Fine Arts degree in English. He is a professor at the University of Oregon, where he was Director of the Program in Creative Writing from 1989 to 1993. He is the author of two books of poetry, Yellow Light and The River of Heaven. He lives in Eugene, Oregon, with his wife and their two sons.

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