Polite Lies: On Being a Woman Caught Between Cultures

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9780449004289: Polite Lies: On Being a Woman Caught Between Cultures
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In this powerful, exquisitely crafted book, Kyoko Mori delves into her dual heritage with a rare honesty that is both graceful and stirring. From her unhappy childhood in Japan, weighted by a troubled family and a constricting culture, to the American Midwest, where she found herself free to speak as a strong-minded independent woman, though still an outsider, Mori explores the different codes of silence, deference, and expression that govern Japanese and American women's lives: the ties that bind us to family and the lies that keep us apart; the rituals of mourning that give us the courage to accept death; the images of the body that make sex seem foreign to Japanese women and second nature to Americans. In the sensitive hands of this compelling writer, one woman's life becomes the mirror of two profoundly different societies.

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Kyoko Mori spent a largely unhappy childhood chafing at social restrictions in Japan before migrating to the American Midwest. In 12 beautifully turned essays she shuttles between these two cultures, observing local customs with a wondering eye. Too bold to be emotionally fluent in either land, Mori scrutinizes--and sometimes ridicules--the sound of a woman's voice raised in a childish squeak; the differences between Americans who marry for love (and divorce the day it dissolves) and traditional Japanese women, who may be more likely to find happiness in an honorable widowhood; and the navigation of uncomfortable truths and painful emotions. "Having a conversation in Japanese is like driving in the dark without a headlight," she says. "Every moment, I am on the verge of hitting something and hurting myself or someone else, but I have no way of guessing where the dangers are." Despite frustration and puzzlement, Mori rarely swerves even to make her own limitations more palatable.

From the Back Cover:

"A small universe of memory and reflection, analysis and synthesis, presented with an artist's touch."
--The Boston Sunday Globe

"A BEAUTIFUL BOOK . . . Her prose has the deceptive simplicity of a Japanese garden. By itself, each element seems to be plain and unadorned, but, in combination, the effect is stunning."
--Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Kyoko Mori is "uniquely qualified to write at an intersection many have visited but few have truly understood."
--The Washington Post Book World

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9780805040791: Polite Lies: On being a Woman Caught Between Cultures

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ISBN 10:  080504079X ISBN 13:  9780805040791
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co., 1998
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Book Description Random House USA Inc, United States, 2003. Paperback. Condition: New. Fawcett ed. Language: English. Brand new Book. Kyoko Mori's life falls into two halves: childhood in Japan, adulthood in the Midwest. In both places she has been an outsider, unable to quite mimic everyone's polite lies. In twelve penetrating, painful, and at times hilarious essays, she explores the codes of silence, deference, and expression that govern Japanese and American women's lives. Throughout, Mori examines the paradox at the center of her own life: she is too Japanese to trust irrational feelings such as love or grief and too American to live a life built on denying them. Standing in this painful place of perfect honesty, Mori explores the ties that bind us to family and the lies that keep us apart, the rituals of mourning that make death human, and the images of the body that make sex seem foreign to Japanese women and ever-present to Americans. Seller Inventory # BZV9780449004289

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Book Description Random House USA Inc, United States, 2003. Paperback. Condition: New. Fawcett ed. Language: English. Brand new Book. Kyoko Mori's life falls into two halves: childhood in Japan, adulthood in the Midwest. In both places she has been an outsider, unable to quite mimic everyone's polite lies. In twelve penetrating, painful, and at times hilarious essays, she explores the codes of silence, deference, and expression that govern Japanese and American women's lives. Throughout, Mori examines the paradox at the center of her own life: she is too Japanese to trust irrational feelings such as love or grief and too American to live a life built on denying them. Standing in this painful place of perfect honesty, Mori explores the ties that bind us to family and the lies that keep us apart, the rituals of mourning that make death human, and the images of the body that make sex seem foreign to Japanese women and ever-present to Americans. Seller Inventory # BTE9780449004289

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