The Floating World

The Floating World

by Cynthia Kadohata
     
 

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"Maks the debut of a luminious new voice in fiction."
THE NEW YORK TIMES
Olivia, the young narrator of this beautiful novel, and her Japanese-American family are constantly on the road, looking for a home in the 1950s. Then traveling becomes a kind of home, a place for her parents to work out their difficulties, in towns that barely linger in memory, hanging in

Overview

"Maks the debut of a luminious new voice in fiction."
THE NEW YORK TIMES
Olivia, the young narrator of this beautiful novel, and her Japanese-American family are constantly on the road, looking for a home in the 1950s. Then traveling becomes a kind of home, a place for her parents to work out their difficulties, in towns that barely linger in memory, hanging in the air among them as the part of a family history that reaches further back than they care to recall, but can't help remembering....

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In her first book, Kadohata works wonders in evoking the mysterious balance, imperfectly held, of a Japanese-American family drifting apprehensively during the 1950s in ``ukiyo ,'' a ``floating world'' of menial jobs and humble yet hopeful upward mobility pursued at the edges of an enchanted but exclusive American normalcy. Twelve-year-old Olivia, the first-person narrator, is a storyteller by temperament and heredity: her sharp-tongued, hot-tempered grandmother, who in her heyday had three husbands and seven lovers, ``owned a valise in which she carried all her possessions, but the stories she told were also possessions.'' Intelligent, impish, perpetually dislocated--``I wanted to stay where we were--where I didn't know anyone and no one knew me''--Olivia soon comes into possession of tales of her own: ``I sort of salivated inside whenever I met someone new. I was nosy, and I thought new people might tell me interesting things.'' Her shrewd roadside appraisals as the family travels from the Pacific Northwest to Arkansas in search of employment (hard to come by for Japanese at that time), and, years later, when Olivia sets out on her own for Los Angeles, range from a delicate appreciation of the American landscape to a frank appetite for the crasser curios of a foreign culture. With equal sympathy, Olivia turns her eye inward on her own family, offering an artless, prescient running commentary that never strains in the pursuit. In striking and keeping the tone of Olivia's voice, a bewitching composite of American brashness and expatriate otherness, Kadohata achieves perfect pitch inconspicuously, telling of the lonely and comic immigrant experience of ``moving from the hard life just past to the life, maybe harder, to come.'' (July)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780670826803
Publisher:
Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Publication date:
07/12/1989
Pages:
208
Product dimensions:
1.00(w) x 1.00(h) x 1.00(d)

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