THE ELECTRICAL FIELD.

Sakamoto, Kerri.

ISBN 10: 0676971261 / ISBN 13: 9780676971262
Published by Toronto: Alfred A. Knopf Canada, (1998) dj, 1998
Hardcover
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About this Item

SIGNED hardcover first edition - First printing. Very highly praised first novel, winner of the 1999 Commonwealth Prize for Best First Novel and nominated for the Canadian Governor's General Award. To quote from just a couple of the comments made about this book, Pico Iyer described it as 'Spooky, atmospheric, and unveiling its secrets with an uncanny assurance. [it]becomes impossible to put down.' and Shani Mootoo calls it 'full of prickly darkness, made magnetic by the author's unabashedly wry and and subversive sense of humor.' Set in the 1970s, this is the story of how a double murder affects the Japanese community shaped by the dark shadow of the internment camps during World War II. SIGNED on the title page. 305 pp. Fine in a fine dust jacket (as new.). Bookseller Inventory # 60925

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Bibliographic Details

Title: THE ELECTRICAL FIELD.

Publisher: Toronto: Alfred A. Knopf Canada, (1998) dj

Publication Date: 1998

Binding: Hardcover

Dust Jacket Condition: Dust Jacket Included

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: 1st Edition

About this title

Synopsis:

Winner of the Commonwealth Prize for First Fiction, finalist for the Canadian Governor General Award, the Chapters/Books in Canada First Novel Award, and the Kiriyama Pacific Rim Book Prize: a rare and haunting debut about memory and murder, the unusual friendship between an aging Japanese-Canadian woman and a young girl desperate to uncover the truth. When the beautiful Chisako and her lover are found murdered in a park, members of a small Ontario suburb in the 1970s must finally acknowledge certain inescapable truths about one another and the way their community has been shaped by the dark shadow of World War II internment camps. With all the suspense of a psychological thriller, The Electrical Field slowly exposes all those implicated in the murders -- particularly Miss Saito, the novel's unreliable narrator, through whom we gradually discover the truth. Like Kazuo Ishiguru in A Pale View of Hills, Kerri Sakamoto invokes a Japanese sense of the relativity of memory and reliability of consciousness. Miss Saito, middle-aged, caring for her elderly, bed-ridden father and her distracted younger brother, on the surface seems to be a passive observer. But her own disturbed past and her craving for an emotional connection will prove to have profound consequences. A masterful and elegant story of passion, memory, and regret, The Electrical Field reaches deep into the past and into Canada's communal response to war. A reading group guide is bound into this paperback edition.

Review:

Memory and murder are the main ingredients of Kerri Sakamoto's debut, The Electrical Field. Set in a quiet suburb somewhere in Ontario, this understated novel mines the experiences of a small community of Japanese Canadians in the 1970s. The narrator, Asako Saito, is nisei, the Canadian-born daughter of Japanese immigrants. Middle-aged, unmarried, living at home with her ailing father and feckless younger brother, Asako spends her days watching the neighbors through her front window. Of particular interest to her is Sachi, a 14-year-old girl who lives down the street: "There she is, my Sachi, crossing the field as I'd seen her on a hundred other days when she'd been skipping school to run off with Tam. Already wise to life, wiser about its possibilities than I'd ever been." Sachi is the daughter Asako never had, though what seems at first like mere maternal interest gradually reveals a more disturbing aspect. The two are drawn into the mystery surrounding the murder of a neighbor and the disappearance of her husband and two children--one of whom is Sachi's boyfriend, Tam.

But murder is really just a backdrop for Sakamoto's portrait of Asako Saito, who turns out to be a most unreliable narrator. Moving back and forth between past and present, Asako's memories of a long-dead brother, life in the World War II internment camps, and her own relationship with the murdered woman's husband become increasingly interwoven, culminating in several haunting revelations and a surprisingly tender ending. Sakamoto handles her complicated tale with grace and assurance, making The Electrical Field a quietly compelling read. --Alix Wilber

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