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An extraordinary researcher and scholar of detail, Frances Itani—author of the best-selling novel Deafening—excels at weaving breathtaking fiction from true-life events. In her new novel, she traces the lives, loves, and secrets in one Japanese-Canadian family during and after their ...
An extraordinary researcher and scholar of detail, Frances Itani—author of the best-selling novel Deafening—excels at weaving breathtaking fiction from true-life events. In her new novel, she traces the lives, loves, and secrets in one Japanese-Canadian family during and after their internment in the 1940s.
In 1942, in retaliation for the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Canadian government removed Bin Okuma’s family from their home on British Columbia’s west coast and forced them into internment camps. They were allowed to take only the possessions they could carry, and Bin, as a young boy, was forced to watch neighbors raid his family’s home before the transport boats even undocked. One hundred miles from the “Protected Zone,” they had to form new makeshift communities without direct access to electricity, plumbing, or food—for five years.
Fifty years later, after his wife’s sudden death, Bin travels across Canada to find the biological father who has been lost to him. Both running from grief and driving straight toward it, Bin must ask himself whether he truly wants to find First Father, the man who made a fateful decision that almost destroyed his family all those years ago. With his wife’s persuasive voice in his head and the echo of their love in his heart, Bin embarks on an unforgettable journey into his past that will throw light on a dark time in history.
"Itani writes with a delicate grasp of both the obvious and the unspoken, using ordinary words charged with extraordinary meaning to produce a serious book that nevertheless invites you to keep reading past midnight."—BookPage
"In Requiem, Frances Itani is at the height of her powers. . . . The Japanese-Canadian story has never been told with such passion, insight and telling detail. . . . Itani has told this story in amazing, cinematic detail. . . . [Requiem] is surely Itani’s greatest novel, although calling Requiem a novel does not do it justice. Requiem is a great work of literature from a determined author at the peak of her powers. It is also a sobering history lesson for all those Canadians who belittle other countries for their racism but are too smug and too blind to examine their own nation’s transgressions."—The Ottawa Citizen
"With Requiem, Itani has written an important and moving novel . . . told with painful and quiet eloquence."—Washington Independent Book Review
“Itani is an accomplished stylist; her prose is lyrical yet clear, her pace unhurried. . . . Itani’s empathy and understanding of human nature enliven her characters. . . . In this finely written, reflective novel, Bin’s physical journey and mindful recollections lead him to a place where he can choose to either hold onto his anger or make peace with his ghosts.”—The Globe and Mail
"An undeniably respectful and moving homage to a shameful factual episode."—Kirkus Reviews
"Beautifully rendered . . . Both tribute and a wail of grief . . . Lyrical and undulating, Requiem rages too."—Telegraph-Journal
"An evocative and cinematic tale . . . Poignantly, the story's determined brush strokes speak of quiet perseverance, underscoring the sense of loss, of talent suspended. . . . With a precise, elegant style Itani avoids the maudlin, and delivers a taut novel."—Maclean's
"A beautiful, slow, meandering read that explores the past of Japanese Canadians in a particularly resonant way."—The Globe and Mail (Favorite Book of the Year)
Posted January 24, 2013
Author: Frances Itani
Published By: Atlantic Monthly Press
Age Recommended: Adult
Reviewed By: Arlena Dean
Book Blog For: GMTA
"Requiem" by Frances Itani was wonderful written novel that gives a revealing look into the Japanese internment of the Canadians in British Colombian following the bombing of Pearl Harbour, during World War Two in 1942. This author has weaved this story into past and present with a 'heart felt family story shedding light on a painful period of Canada's history when those of Japanese descent were interned.' I felt this was a fascinating story how this man's journey back to his past with his friend...his dog and memories of his wife...along with him in the front seat.
This novel is of Bin Okuma who was a Canadian painter of Japanese descent and was married to a Canadian girl...had one son...wife dies...now going on a journey to West Coast...to find that his 'first-father' is ageing...having not been close to his father... Bin now decides to see his father...and goes the story and the part that I say to find out father you must pick up "Requiem" and find out what memories will come back to him during has childhood...with his family...their previous life as fisherman until the boasts were confiscated and then there travel to the camp in British Columbia. In this novel you will see how the author brings to the writer three time frames: "the distant past, when Bin lived with his family in an internment camp, the recent past, with memories of his life with his wife and son in Canada, and the current day, the road journey across Canada with his dog, Basil."
This was a different read for me because I hadn't read about the experiences of the Japanese in Canada. Having done so, I found "Requeim" a very interesting read. I thought that the characters were very well developed with this novel showing much feeling, grief and even consolation and yes, I would recommend this novel as a good read.
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Posted October 11, 2013
The alternation of current time with the childhood of the protagonist gives the reader two stories along the same thread. It is very interesting to compare this novel of the internment of the Japanese in Canada with other fictional accounts, such as Dallas' Tallgrass and Guterson's Snow Falling on Cedars. Each is written from a different perspective, and each gives voice to the American and Canadian citizens who were torn from the homes and yet somehow retained their dignity. Requiem is a book worthy of discussion and much thought. Its themes of family, trust, hardship, and the importance of the arts make it a good book club book, as well as a novel that will appeal to many readers of good fiction.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 19, 2013
Posted March 13, 2013
Posted November 4, 2012
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