When Jory Lalaban, a Filipino postman, finds himself the target of a racially motivated shooting, he is forced to confront long buried memories of his life in the Philippines — how he came to abandon the priesthood to become a worshipper of the Moon; his youth in an orphanage after World War II; the devastating "curse" that forced him and his new bride, Belen, to flee the Philippines for the United States. The shooting makes international headlines, disturbing the quiet life of the Lalabans, a family forced to face its darkest fears. The reader is introduced to a cast of memorable characters like Emerson Lalaban, the son who talks to his dead brother on the phone, but fails to properly communicate his feelings to the man he loves; Michael, Emerson's Taiwanese boyfriend, who vows to never fall in love with an American again; the wife Belen Lalaban, a woman who hears the quirky voice of the Virgin Mary; and William, the racist gunman who demands to be heard. Inspired by an actual event, this funny, rich novel unflinchingly tackles the most explosive topics facing America today: race, religion, and sexuality.
“At his most flippant, Chin is downright charming.”—Publishers Weekly
While trying to make sense of this ever-churning, terror-filled world, poet Justin Chin found himself traveling repeatedly home to Southeast Asia—a region unnerved and raging with SARS and the Avian Flu—to help care for his father who had suddenly been declared terminally ill with cancer. In addition to his father’s illness, Chin was managing his own health and medical annoyances and preparing for a looming US citizenship test. At the beginning of this difficult period, Chin quietly vowed not to speak publicly about his troubles until they had been suitably resolved. These poems mark the end of that resolution. Gutted is a document of growing older—a massively moving work of grief, loss, comfort, illness, and resolve—imbued with Chin's unique screwy perspective, ever-defective grace, and scabrous humor.
Inside and other short fiction showcases the very best of recent writing by Japanese women writers today-including prize-winning novelists and authors never before published in English-as they explore the issue of female identity in a rapidly changing society.
AMY YAMADA ("Fiesta"), widely published overseas and with many fans among Western readers, offers us a sophisticated psychological portrait of a sexually repressed woman. TAMAKI DAIDO ("Milk"), winner of the Akutagawa Prize in 2002, and talented young newcomer RIO SHIMAMOTO ("Inside"), paint two very different pictures of teenage life. The trials of a busy working mother are depicted by SHUNGIKU UCHIDA ("My Son's Lips"), who shocked Japan in 1993 with the publication of her novel, Father Fucker. YUZUKI MUROI ("Piss"), a prolific, popular and outspoken essayist, novelist and TV commentator, tells the sexually explicit and very moving story of a young Tokyo prostitute. Winner of the 1999 Akutagawa Prize, CHIYA FUJINO ("Her Room"), delves into the relationship between two women, one divorced and one single, with a subtle and powerful tale. Well-known essayist, JUNKO HASEGAWA ("The Unfertilized Egg"), makes a first foray into fiction with a hard-hitting portrait of the single thirty-something lifestyle. NOBUKO TAKAGI ("The Shadow of the Orchid") is a highly respected member of the Japanese literary establishment, and winner of many prizes, including the Akutagawa Prize in 1984. Her short story is a sensitive depiction of a moment of crisis in the life of a fifty-year-old housewife.
At the height of China’s Cultural Revolution a powerful general fathered two sons. Tan was born to the general’s wife and into a life of comfort and luxury. His half brother, Shento, was born to the general’s mistress, who threw herself off a cliff in the mountains of Balan only moments after delivering her child. Growing up, each remained ignorant of the other’s existence. In Beijing, Tan enjoyed the best schools, the finest clothes, and the prettiest girls. Shento was raised on the mountainside by an old healer and his wife until their deaths landed him in an orphanage, where he was always hungry, alone, and frightened. Though on divergent roads, each brother is driven by a passionate desire—one to glorify his father, the other to seek revenge against him.
Separated by distance and opportunity, Tan and Shento follow the paths that lie before them, while unknowingly falling in love with the same woman and moving toward the explosive moment when their fates finally merge.
Growing up in a time between wars, Sam Hamada finds that the culture of his native Japan is never far from his heart. Sam is rapidly learning the code of the samurai in the late 1930s on the lush Hawaiian Islands, where he is slowly coming into his own as a son and a man.
But after Sam strikes out for California, where he meets Keiko, the beautiful young woman destined to be the love of his life, he faces crushing disappointment—Keiko's parents take her back to Japan, forcing Keiko to endure their attempts to arrange her marriage. It is a trial complicated by how the Japanese perceive her—as too Americanized to be a proper Japanese wife and mother—and its pain is compounded by the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, which ignites the war that instantly taints Sam, Keiko, and their friends and family as enemies of the state.
Sam himself is most caught between cultures when, impressed by his knowledge of Japanese, the U.S. Army drafts and then promotes Sam, sending him on a secret mission into a wartime world of madness where he faces the very real risk of encountering his own brother in combat.
From the tragedies of the camps through to the bombing of Hiroshima, where Sam's mother and siblings live, Sam's very identity both puts his life at risk and provides the only reserve from which he can pull to survive. In this beautifully written historical epic about a boy in search of manhood, a girl in search of truth, and two peoples divided by war, Sam must draw upon his training, his past, and everything he has learned if he's ever to span his two cultures and see Keiko, or his family, again.
The Agha Shahid Ali Prize in Poetry was inaugurated in 2003 to honor the late poet, a nationally recognized writer and a former professor at the University of Utah, and is sponsored by the University of Utah Press and the University of Utah Department of English.
In Eugene Gloria’s acclaimed first collection of poems, Drivers at the Short-Time Motel, ephemeral lives, and souls lost in the tattered fabric of war, displacement, and ruined love, found hope, redemption, and a common voice. Gloria is interested in illustrating the common man’s search for connection to the self and to the world, and that is very much apparent in his second collection. The speaker of these poems examines his lapsed Roman Catholic identity and his past; Spain, and its long and varied influence on Filipino culture; and the famous pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. These new poems build on what Gloria began in his first book by continuing this sense of collaboration with literary and cultural influence.
CONCORDANCE is a new collaborative work by three acclaimed contemporary artists: poet Mei-mei Berssenbrugge and sculptor Kiki Smith, working with book artist, Anne McKeown. Inspired by Smith's image of a dandelion, whose floating silks she compares to reading, the poem traces agreements and embeddings of human and animal bodies, ideas, dreams and emotion in a concordance of parallel and contingent contexts. "Then it's possible to undo misunderstanding from inside by tracing the flight or thread of empty space running through things." Then what if, in that bond, "images were Eros as words?" In Smith's etchings, reading, as Eros, is drawn as seeds, feathers, star-like explosions, pods, wide-eyed, unblinking owls. "Animals...open their eyes, and a mirror forms on the ground." The effects of the verbal images and gray-blue inked drawings are stunning and other-worldly.
Drawing on four decades of work and including new poems published here for the first time, this selection of Mei-mei Berssenbrugge’s poetry displays the extraordinary luminosity characteristic of her style—its delicate, meticulous observation, great scenic imagination, and unusual degree of comfort with states of indetermination, contingency, and flux.
Charles Yu experiments with form and genre to explore the stories we tell ourselves while navigating contemporary life. In "Third Class Superhero," a would- be good guy must come to terms with the darkness in his heart. A couple living in the Luxury Car Commercial subdivision in "401(k)" are disappointed when their exotic vacation turns into a Life Insurance/Asset Management pitch. The author struggles to write the definitive biography of his mother in "Autobiographical Raw Material Unsuitable for the Mining of Fiction." In these and other stories, Yu’s characters run up against the conventions and parameters of their artificial story lines while tackling the terrifying aspects of existence: mothers, jobs, spouses, the need to express feelings.
Heartbreaking, hilarious, smart, and surprising, Third Class Superhero marks the arrival of an impressive new talent.