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Through the Arc of the Rain Forest
     

Through the Arc of the Rain Forest

5.0 2
by Karen Tei Yamashita
 

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Through the Arc of the Rain Forest is a burlesque of comic-strip adventures and apocalyptic portents that stretches familiar truths to their logical extreme in a future world that is just recognizable enough to be frightening. In the Author's Note," Karen Tei Yamashita writes that her book is like a Brazilian soap opera called a novela: "the novela's

Overview

Through the Arc of the Rain Forest is a burlesque of comic-strip adventures and apocalyptic portents that stretches familiar truths to their logical extreme in a future world that is just recognizable enough to be frightening. In the Author's Note," Karen Tei Yamashita writes that her book is like a Brazilian soap opera called a novela: "the novela's story is completely changeable according to the whims of the public psyche and approval, although most likely, the unhappy find happiness; the bad are punished; true love reigns; a popular actor is saved from death ... an idyll striking innocence, boundless nostalgia and terrible ruthlessness." The stage is a vast, mysterious field of impenetrable plastic in the Brazilian rain forest set against a backdrop of rampant environmental destruction, commercialization, poverty, and religious rapture. Through the Arc of the Rainforest is narrated by a small satellite hovering permanently around the head of an innocent character named Kazumasa. Through no fault of his own, Kazumasa seems to draw strange and significant people into his orbit and to find himself at the center of cataclysmic events that involve carrier pigeons, religious pilgrims, industrial espionage, magic feathers, big money, miracles, epidemics, true love, and the virtual end of the world. This book is simultaneously entertaining and depressing, with all the rollicking pessimism you'd expect of a good soap opera or a good political satire."- Kirsten Backstrom, 500 Great Books by Women

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Fluid and poetic as well as terrifying.” —New York Times Book Review

“Bizarre and baroque, funny and sad. Yamashita's novel may say more about saving the rain forest than its nonfiction counterparts do.” —Utne Reader

“Dazzling . . . a seamless mixture of magic realism, satire and futuristic fiction.” —San Francisco Chronicle

“An imaginative tour de force.” —Capital Times

“Impressive . . . a flight of fancy through a dreamlike Brazil.” —Village Voice

“Surreal and misty, sweeping from one high-voltage scene to another.” —LA Weekly

“Amuses and frightens at the same time.” —Newsday

“Parodies misguided development the way Catch-22 did senseless wars . . . mak[ing] us laugh and cry.” —Sierra

“An ecological fantasy that skewers giant corporations, religion, fads, yuppies and just about every kind of greed. It may be the world’s first multicultural condemnation of capitalism.” —Pioneer Press

“An explosive satire about mortality and catastrophe.” —Asian Week

“Smooth and seamless.” —A Magazine

“An exuberant black comedy.” —Daily Yomiuri

“The American equivalent of Joseph Conrad’s Congo in The Heart of Darkness.” — Rafu Shimpo

“Yamashita has drawn upon her considerable inventive powers to deliver a good read.” —Amerasia Journal

“Thoroughly entertaining.” —Stanford Daily

“Incisive and funny, this book yanks our chains and makes us see the absurdity that rules our world.” —Booklist (starred review)

“Expansive and ambitious . . . incredible and complicated.” —Library Journal

“Yamashita’s biting satire is a powerful test of our senses, our sensitivities and sensibilities. I haven’t been as enthralled since having read Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five.” —Special Libraries Association

“This satiric morality play about the destruction of the Amazon rain forest unfolds with a diversity and fecundity equal to its setting. . . . Yamashita seems to have thrown into the pot everything she knows and most that she can imagine—all to good effect.” —Publishers Weekly

“[T]he woes and ills of contemporary society are acutely described here; but Yamashita’s affection for the quirkiness of human nature, as well as her sympathy for her characters’ plights, makes this a novel, not a polemic. A fine debut.” —Kirkus

Through the Arc of the Rain Forest attacks environmental devastation through the logic of satire and the sensibilities of the poetic mind. Yamashita plays out today’s soap opera of the futility of man’s faith in technology on the stage where it is currently most brutal, stupid and immoral: Brazilian Amazonia.” —Charles L. Hogue, Curator, National History Museum of Los Angeles

“Fluid and poetic as well as terrifying.” —New York Times Book Review

“Bizarre and baroque, funny and sad. Yamashita's novel may say more about saving the rain forest than its nonfiction counterparts do.” —Utne Reader

“Dazzling . . . a seamless mixture of magic realism, satire and futuristic fiction.” —San Francisco Chronicle

“An imaginative tour de force.” —Capital Times

“Impressive . . . a flight of fancy through a dreamlike Brazil.” —Village Voice

“Surreal and misty, sweeping from one high-voltage scene to another.” —LA Weekly

“Amuses and frightens at the same time.” —Newsday

“Parodies misguided development the way Catch-22 did senseless wars . . . mak[ing] us laugh and cry.” —Sierra

“An ecological fantasy that skewers giant corporations, religion, fads, yuppies and just about every kind of greed. It may be the world’s first multicultural condemnation of capitalism.” —Pioneer Press

“An explosive satire about mortality and catastrophe.” —Asian Week

“Smooth and seamless.” —A Magazine

“An exuberant black comedy.” —Daily Yomiuri

“The American equivalent of Joseph Conrad’s Congo in The Heart of Darkness.” — Rafu Shimpo

“Yamashita has drawn upon her considerable inventive powers to deliver a good read.” —Amerasia Journal

“Thoroughly entertaining.” —Stanford Daily

“Incisive and funny, this book yanks our chains and makes us see the absurdity that rules our world.” —Booklist (starred review)

“Expansive and ambitious . . . incredible and complicated.” —Library Journal

“Yamashita’s biting satire is a powerful test of our senses, our sensitivities and sensibilities. I haven’t been as enthralled since having read Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five.” —Special Libraries Association

“This satiric morality play about the destruction of the Amazon rain forest unfolds with a diversity and fecundity equal to its setting. . . . Yamashita seems to have thrown into the pot everything she knows and most that she can imagine—all to good effect.” —Publishers Weekly

“[T]he woes and ills of contemporary society are acutely described here; but Yamashita’s affection for the quirkiness of human nature, as well as her sympathy for her characters’ plights, makes this a novel, not a polemic. A fine debut.” —Kirkus

Through the Arc of the Rain Forest attacks environmental devastation through the logic of satire and the sensibilities of the poetic mind. Yamashita plays out today’s soap opera of the futility of man’s faith in technology on the stage where it is currently most brutal, stupid and immoral: Brazilian Amazonia.” —Charles L. Hogue, Curator, National History Museum of Los Angeles

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Yamashita offers an enriching fictionalization of the settling of the northwestern corner of Brazil by socialist Japanese Christians. (Sept.)
Library Journal
This expansive and ambitious novel attempts, fairly successfully, to weave an immediate concern for the environment with an incredible and complicated story. The setting is the Brazilian jungle, and the cast of characters could people a circus: a middle-aged Japanese man with a golf ball-sized sphere buzzing in front of his forehead, a three-armed executive from New York, an old man who founds the ``science'' of featherology, and a boy who is believed to be an angel--to name just a few. These characters converge, each with a separate mission, on the unique ``natural'' phenomenon known as the Matacao, a huge flat plastic plain in the middle of the jungle. Boundless greed and the unthinking destruction of our environment are as much a part of the story as the delicate relations among the characters. Although the clever parodies of modern society (from yuppies to New Age spiritualism to animal rights groups) are a bit heavy-handed, and at times the plot bogs down in its own intricacies, this is ultimately enjoyable reading.-- Jessica Grim, Univ. of California at Berkeley Lib.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780918273826
Publisher:
Coffee House Press
Publication date:
07/28/1990
Pages:
192
Sales rank:
832,801
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
16 Years

What People are Saying About This

Gregory Radassa
"Yamashita has given us a migling of aspects, facet, and points of view that...reveal the complex pitch of Brazillian culture...Inspiring satirical piece of writing."

Meet the Author

Heralded as a "big talent" by the Los Angeles Times, Karen Tei Yamashita is an American Book Award and Janet Heidinger Kafka Award winner. A California native who has also lived in Brazil and Japan, she is Professor of Literature and Creative Writing at the University of California-Santa Cruz, where she received the Chancellor's Award for Diversity in 2009.

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Through the ARC of the Rain Forest 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Talk to the deputy here.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago