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From Barnes & NobleBarnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers
Mary Yukari Waters's graceful stories are stamped with the mark of an undeniable talent, filled with tales of Japanese women whose lives have been altered by the consequences of war. Tracing their struggles as they cope with the tragic loss of husbands, fathers, and children, Waters also illuminates the more subtle losses, such as the demise of traditional Japanese culture, quickly fading in the light of Western influences.
Waters, of Japanese and Irish-American parentage, lived in Japan until she was nine, and her writing gives voice to characters caught between their memories of the past and an ever-encroaching modernity. Captured vividly in her prose are women keening over the loss of tea ceremonies, flower arranging, and the correct degrees of bowing; in their eyes, "forks and knives [glisten] among [the] English china with the malevolence of surgical instruments."
A compassionate observer of the worlds her characters straddle, Waters imbues their lives with a universal sense of humanity: "There is no doubt that [they] will pass through this period and on into whatever lies beyond it, but at a gradually slowing pace; a part of [them]…will lag behind in the honeyed light of prewar years." Crafted with delicacy and an attention to detail, these stories are deceptively concise and poetic. At times, they read like 21st-century versions of ancient myths. (Summer 2003 Selection)