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In vivid and searingly honest prose, Mura goes on to suggest how the shame of internment affected his sense of sexuality, leading him to face troubling questions about desire and race: an interracial marriage, compulsive adultery, and an addiction to pornography which equates beauty with whiteness. Using his own experience as a measure of racial and sexual grief, Mura illustrates how the connections between race and desire are rarely discussed, how certain taboos continue to haunt this country's understanding of itself. Ultimately, Mura faces the most difficult legacy of miscegenation: raising children in a world which refuses to recognize and honor its racial diversity.
Intimate and lyrically stunning, Where the Body Meets Memory is a personal journey out of the self and into America's racial and sexual psyche.
A third-generation Japanese-American (sansei) who remains vaguely discontented with his heritage, albeit endlessly fascinated by his place (or lack thereof) in contemporary US society, Mura (who turns 44 this year) offers a discontinuous memoir that draws on the lives of those close to him as well as his own experiences. The son of nisei parents who were interned during WW II, the author grew up in comfortable circumstances in suburban Chicago. After earning a degree from Grinnell, he went on to graduate school at the University of Minnesota. Mura eventually settled in the Twin Cities, married the woman with whom he had lived since college, and, with some success, pursued a writing career. By the author's account, however, getting from then to now has been a tortuous, tortured business. Along his wayward way, Mura abused drugs, was frequently unfaithful to his wife (a physician specializing in pediatric oncology), vocally challenged his go-getting father's desire to assimilate, and became addicted to pornography. In the name of an unsparing search for truth, he shares with readers the sordid details of one-night stands, his lust for hard-core smut, bouts of masturbation, constant doubts about his own sexual appeal (in particular, to non-Asian women), and other causes of postadolescent angst. At length, fatherhood and therapy jolted Mura into a state approaching adulthood. Even so, he has resolved to use poetry and prose "to make central what is marginal, to re-create and reveal what others say should not be spoken of."
Mura comes nowhere near his stated objective in the flights of fancy he has patched together, and the egocentric text is remarkable only for its modest shock value.
|A Nisei Daughter||21|
|A Nisei Father||97|
|The Internment of Desire||211|