Karen Tei Yamashita

Letters to Memory

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An excursion through the Japanese-American internment using archival materials from the author’s own family.
In this unique memoir, Karen Tei Yamashita draws on her family’s history and creates a series of epistolary conversations with composite characters representing a range of academic specialties. Historians, anthropologists, classicists—their disciplines, and Yamashita’s engagement with them, are a way for her explore various aspects of the internment and to expand its meaning beyond her family, and our borders, to ideas of debt, forgiveness, civil rights, and community. From a National Book Award finalist, Letters to Memory is “in moments deeply personal and impressionistic and in moments pulling back into a voice of epic omniscience” (The Boston Globe).
“Interrogates the cruelty of internment and the random nature of immigration, war, birth and death and disease through her own probing, lively correspondence . . . The irony and dark humor of Yamashita’s interrogations, of her nimble prose and sentences, illuminate the tragedies.” —Los Angeles Times
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211 printed pages
Original publication
2017

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