Title: Namako Sea Cucumber [First Edition] [Signed]
Publisher: Coffee House Press
Publication Date: 1998
Binding: Soft Cover
Book Condition: Fair
Signed: Signed by Author
Edition: First Edition
First Edition, First Printing. Signed & Inscribed by Author. Fair condition. Moderate to heavy shelf wear or edge wear on covers and spine. Books in Fair condition most likely will have markings or highlights on pages or binding defects. [LL71]. Bookseller Inventory # 100417529
Synopsis: Fiction. Asian Studies. "McFerrin's first novel paints a portrait of a truly multicultural family - a Scottish father, a half-British and half-Japanese mother, and four children... McFerrin's writing is thoughtful and smooth as she captures ever-changing images of the world around Ellen and her family, successfully filtering those images through the eyes of her youthful characters"-Library Journal. McFerrin writes: "I came at last to namako, a word that in the Japanese combination of characters means both 'sea cucumber' and 'raw child,' a symbol for the simplicity and vulnerability that I feel is at the root of the Japanese and perhaps all psyches." The end result is, according to Publishers Weekly, "a vivid, often humorous novel" that "offers a winning young heroine, a complex family and memorable vignettes of a year spent betwixt and between."
From Kirkus Reviews: A multiracial girl, Asian-American, lurches to maturity and understanding with the help of her Japanese grandmother. Wise grandmothers are a familiar staple in fiction: Keepers of the ancestral flame and secrets, they are expected to instruct the young in family lore, and Ellens does just that, but it takes a while. Ellen, the eldest child of Scottish father Gene and Japanese-British Sara, has a lot of issues to work through before she can love her ailing grandmother. The family, which has never put down roots anywhere, moves to Japan from the US when Sara learns that Gene is having an affair, an affair that Ellen is also aware of. Just ten when she first meets her grandmother, a former actress, shes chagrined to be described by the old woman as someone without a soul. She lives with her grandmother, who teaches her Japanese legends and customs, until her parents buy a house on a northern island. There, though Ellen still feels like a sea cucumbera protean and unfixed life-formshe adjusts to living in a strange country. She goes to school; discovers shes artistic; draws naked women for her repressed science teacher, who befriends her; watches her two brothers fight with American boys from the military base, one of whom spitefully slays the family pets; and comes to feel increasingly connected to her grandmother and heritage. This connection is affirmed when the grandmother dies while traveling with Sara and Ellen to their ancestral house. There, the grieving Ellen is visited by a spirit who cheers her by promising that truth endures for the pure of soul. A overwritten first novel, more like a series of set pieces, that hints at deeper issuesfamily lies, secretsbut never really digs below the surface to mine them. Despite the Japanese setting, an undistinguished coming-of-age tale. -- Copyright ©1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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