Words Of My Roaring

Overview

Set in a small town south of San Francisco during World War II, Words of My Roaring is a compelling picture of the confusions, the dislocations, and the brutality of war as they affect the home front. The novel recreates a neighborhood in San Bruno and connects it to San Francisco and the larger stage of the war. Tanforan racetrack, first an assembly camp for Japanese Americans awaiting internment, becomes a naval training base for Pacific-bound recruits. The elementary school becomes a USO, and air-raid drills ...

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Overview

Set in a small town south of San Francisco during World War II, Words of My Roaring is a compelling picture of the confusions, the dislocations, and the brutality of war as they affect the home front. The novel recreates a neighborhood in San Bruno and connects it to San Francisco and the larger stage of the war. Tanforan racetrack, first an assembly camp for Japanese Americans awaiting internment, becomes a naval training base for Pacific-bound recruits. The elementary school becomes a USO, and air-raid drills and blackouts are routine as California prepares for an expected Japanese invasion. We see these events through the eyes of a novice teacher, an abandoned boy, two young girls whose mother works in the shipyards and whose father enlists in the Army, and a sailor scarred by his months in the war zone. Words of My Roaring is a richly textured, emotionally charged novel about the unlikely sources of human redemption.

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Editorial Reviews

Boston Globe
Finney has almost perfectly imagined the peculiarities of being a child in wartime.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Finney ( Winterchill ) sets this tale of human tragedy and redemption against the backdrop of the larger events of WW II. San Bruno, a small coastal town in California, is designated as a naval training base for battle-bound recruits, and as a liberty town for 25,000 soldiers. Tanforan, the local racetrack, is transformed into an internment camp for Japanese Americans. Five people witness these changes: 10-year-old Mary Maureen, whose parents have moved from Tennessee to California to find work in the shipyards; her little sister, Ruthie; Avery, the boy living next door whose childhood was shattered by a family murder; Elaine Walker, the young schoolteacher; and Chuck Sweet, survivor of the Arizona , now the Navy petty officer Elaine loves. First-person accounts detail their everyday lives--listening to the radio for war news, the terrors of being called on in class, gas rationing, hoarding toilet paper, fights in the local taverns, looking for prostitutes, the silence of wounded men dying of exposure in the cold Pacific and acts of personal and private courage. Quirky and flawed, these characters reveal the fragility and toughness of the human spirit. Sharply evocative of the time, this story of homefront America is a good read. (July)
Library Journal
Set in the small-town homefront of San Bruno, California, during World War II, this novel skillfully meshes the civilian lives of Elaine Walker, a new schoolteacher; 10-year-old Mary Maureen and her little sister, Ruthie; and Avery Fontana, a young misfit, with that of Chuck Sweet, a reluctant navy hero and Elaine's sweetheart. All of the elements of a gripping war novel are present: hair-raising naval survival scenes; women coping with death and heading households; children clinging to school activities and play as a buffer from the war; and an alluring story of novice lovers. Finney ( Winterchill , Avon, 1991) has proven to be a master at creating endearing characters of all ages who weather a variety of life-shattering crises. Fans of Marge Piercy's World War II novel, Gone to Soldiers ( LJ 4/1/87), will love this. Recommended for all fiction collections.-- Mary Ellen Elsbernd, Northern Kentucky Univ . Lib . , Highland Heights
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520216389
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 10/1/1998
  • Series: California Fiction Series
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 398
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.25 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Ernest J. Finney grew up on the peninsula just south of San Francisco and now divides his time between that city and the San Joaquin Valley. His books include the novels California Time (1998), Lady with the Alligator Purse (1992) and Winterchill (1989), and the short story collections Flights in the Heavenlies (1996) and Birds Landing (1986).

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