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Frances Itani, author of the internationally bestselling novel Deafening and an extraordinary researcher and scholar of detail, excels at weaving breathtaking fiction from true-life events. In her new novel, she traces the lives, loves, and secrets in one Japanese-Canadian family caught in the larger arc of history during the 1940s. After the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, the Canadian government uprooted Bin Okuma’s family and relatives from their homes on British Columbia’s west coast. Families were allowed to take only the possessions they could carry, and Bin, as a young boy, witnessed neighbors raiding his home before the transport boat even undocked. Removed from the one-hundred-mile “Protected Zone,” Japanese Canadians were sent to internment camps where for five years they lived in hardship in hastily erected shacks in the mountainous interior. More than fifty years later, after his wife’s sudden death, Bin travels across Canada to find the biological father who has been lost to him. Both running from grief and driving straight toward it, Bin must ask himself whether he truly wants to find First Father, the man who made a fateful decision that almost destroyed his family all those years ago. With his wife’s persuasive voice in his head and the echo of their love in his heart, Bin embarks on an unforgettable journey into his past that will throw light on a dark time in history.
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Bin Okuma, a celebrated visual artist, has quite suddenly lost his beloved wife, Lena. He and his son, Greg, are left to deal with the shock. But Greg must return to his studies on the East Coast, and Bin finds himself alone in ways he has never imagined. Trying to pull together an exhibition of his art, he is drawn into painful memories he has avoided for much of his life.
After the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, Bin’s Japanese Canadian family was uprooted from the west coast of Vancouver Island and transported to an internment camp in the mountains. They spent almost five years there, struggling against poverty and shame. Now, many years later, Bin drives across the country to revisit the places that have shaped him and to see his estranged father. But does he really want to reunite with the man who abandoned him and separated him from his mother? With the persuasive voice of his wife in his head and the echo of their love in his heart, Bin embarks on an unforgettable journey, one that encompasses art and music, love and hope, loss and redemption.
Frances Itani has created a spellbinding novel of extraordinary beauty, an elegiac yet intimate story of a family caught in the arc of history.About the Author:
Frances Itani is the author of Deafening, winner of a Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and the Drummer General’s Award, and short-listed for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award; and Remembering the Bones, short-listed for a Commonwealth Writers’ Prize.
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