Harvest Son: Planting Roots in American Soil

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9780393319743: Harvest Son: Planting Roots in American Soil
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"[E]vocative and lyrical. . . . Masumoto writes with a keen sense of indebtedness and gratitude to the many individuals who make up the entity he calls his family."―Publishers Weekly, starred review

David Mas Masumoto, best-selling author of Epitaph for a Peach, returns to the same ground but digs even deeper in a new, "more ambitious book" in which "he lets his philosophy about man and nature emerge from an absorbing chronicle of his life and that of his Japanese antecedents" (The Economist). This is a book about working alongside the ghosts of generations past, about the search for roots in the tragic history of internment camps and in the rural culture of Japan. It is equally about renewal-reinvigorating the farm with organic techniques, teaching his children how to carry on the work that eighty acres of peaches and grapes demand. Masumoto knits past and present to achieve a rare and essential harmony: holding on to what matters, despite the pressures of time and change. "Take your time, linger" with the book, counsels the San Diego Union-Tribune, "Masumoto's serene tales . . . are like a balm." He is a "remarkable" author, sums up The Atlantic, "with a field, and a sensibility, peculiarly his own."

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About the Author:

David Mas Masumoto is the author of Harvest Son and Epitaph for a Peach. His organic farm is in Del Rey, California.

From Kirkus Reviews:

The richness of Masumoto's earlier memoir (Epitaph for a Peach, 1995) about life as a Japanese-American farmer in California is generally lacking here. The problem: Masumoto never quite settles on a subject or direction. Instead, the narrator ventures all over the place, ranging from a discourse on raisins to an evocation of the community ``hall,'' and from his ``chairmanship'' of a neighbor's funeral to the joys of sweating. Some of it - s interesting; the writing is often quite good, even if disconnected or chronologically challenging. Located in Del Rey in California's Central Valley, the author - s 80-acre farm - 20 acres for peaches, 60 for grapes - was purchased by his father rather inexpensively because fully a fourth of it was considered worthless. Covered in ``hardpan,'' a layer of clay and minerals hardened into rock, the property was cleared over a period of years, ``and now lush green vines grow,'' producing as much as two tons of raisins per acre. As Masumoto prunes his grapevines, he thinks of his jiichan, his grandfather Masumoto, who arrived in California 100 years ago to work in a vineyard, though he'd never seen a grape. The author traveled to Japan after his college days at Berkeley to study and work with distant relatives, most of whom scarcely knew his family. Then he resumed working with his father on the farm, enjoying the daily grind. As in his first book, Masumoto writes wonderfully of his crops and the challenges of keeping a small farm going. If it had been presented as a collection of vignettes or essays, this might have summoned up more literary or personal energy. But ill-arranged slices of life do not a memoir make. (Author tour) -- Copyright ©1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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