Stewart David Ikeda What the Scarecrow Said

ISBN 13: 9780060987183

What the Scarecrow Said

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9780060987183: What the Scarecrow Said

Cast out of his native California, "relocated" to an armed camp, and made a victim of almost unbearable family loss, Billy Fujita finds himself in the coldest reaches of Massachusetts in the closing months of World War II. A spirited widow, Margaret Kelly, has helped secure his release in the hope that Fujita, a horticulturist, will turn her barren land into a working farm. Together with Margaret, a war widow named Livvie, and her damaged young son, Garvin, Fujita becomes a reluctant participant in an impromptu family.

Providing a profound new perspective on the Japanese-American experience, What the Scarecrow Said is the story of how even in the harshest soil the roots of love and family can survive.

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About the Author:

Stewart D. Ikeda has twice been a recipient of the Hopwood Award from the University of Michigan, where he earned his MFA in writing. His fiction, poetry, and essays have appeared in such publications as Story, Ploughshares, Glimmer Train, and the anthology Voices of the Xiled.

He teaches writing and Asian-American Studies at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

From Kirkus Reviews:

A Japanese-American's experience in a WW II internment camp offers both insight and a bit of melodrama--a combination that provides mostly favorable results. In the last year of the war, California horticulturist William Fujita finds himself on a barren hill farm in Massachusetts. He has lost everything: his thriving nursery in Pasadena, his mother, even his wife and only child, who have died in one of the internment camps into which Japanese-Americans have been herded. Fujita's future seems as bleak now as this farmland called Widow's Peak. Requested for his horticultural skills, Fujita has been released from a camp in Arizona in order to plan and create a working farm on widow Margaret Kelly's land. She and neighbor Livvie Tufteller, a recent widow herself, decide to combine property, and the three make an easy alliance to bring the land back to life, though not without town opposition to the presence of the ``enemy.'' Through flashbacks, the history of Fujita's life is traced, from his difficult beginnings in segregated turn-of-the-century Los Angeles to his later prosperity and (briefly) happy family life. Ikeda describes with vivid detail the anger, confusion, and helplessness the Fujita family experience as Japanese-Americans are rounded up and forced into camps. Back on the farm Fujita slowly claims Margaret and Livvie, and Livvie's small boy Garvin, as a new sort of family, and the prospering farm serves as a symbol (if a rather weighty one) of renewal after the war. Despite a rather simplistic wrapping-up of lives (extended to included the future lives of all the characters), this is a solid exploration of difficult times--a first novel that is never so weighed down by politics as to overshadow the importance of the personal stories at its center. ($35,000 ad/promo; author tour) -- Copyright 1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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Ikeda, Stewart David
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