My Postwar Life

edited by Elizabeth McKenzie
foreword by Karen Tei Yamashita
Chicago Quarterly Review Books

My Postwar Life is a collection of new writing from Japan and Okinawa. The collection includes fiction, poetry, and essays by authors Deni Y. Bechard, Christopher Yohmei Blasdel, Hiroshi Fukurai, Ryuta Imafuku, Setsuko Ishiguro, Roland Kelts, Mari Kotani,  Janice Nakao, Kim Shi-Jong, Keijiro Suga, Iona Sugihara, Goro Takano, Stewart Wachs, Stephen Woodhams, and Kentaro Yamaki. A few of the the authors, including Leza Lowitz, Shogo Oketani, Tami Sakiyama, Takayuki Tatsumi, and Katsunori Yamazato are past contributors to MĀNOA Journal.

Also included in My Postwar Life is a play by Masataka Matsuda, an interview with the former mayor of Nagasaki Hitoshi Motoshima, photography by Shomei Tomatsu, and a series of scans made from the illustrated journal of a soldier in the Imperial Army.

Elizabeth McKenzie’s story collection Stop That Girl was short-listed for The Story Prize, and was a Newsday and School Library Journal Best Book of the year. Her novel MacGregor Tells the World was a Chicago Tribune Best Book of the year, a San Francisco Chronicle Notable Book, and a School Library Journal Top Ten Book of the year. She has received a Pushcart Prize for her short fiction, which has been included in The AtlanticBest American Nonrequired ReadingThreepenny Review, TriQuarterly, and other literary journals. She was the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts/Japan-US Friendship Commission Creative Artist Fellowship, and is the editor of My Postwar Life: New Writings from Japan and Okinawa, published in 2012.

The Lotus Singers: Short Stories from Contemporary South Asia

51pmboga-0l-_sx330_bo1204203200_Edited by Trevor Carolan
Cheng & Tsui Company, Inc., 2011.

The Lotus Singers: Short Stories from Contemporary South Asia is a collection of contemporary short stories by South Asia’s most renown authors.  With writers from Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, this anthology gives readers a glimpse into the complexities of a region so diverse in both landscape and people through the exploration of themes such as social upheaval, gender inequality, economic and spiritual struggle, and challenges to cultural orthodoxy.

In his review, Alan Cheuse describes that while the writers featured in The Lotus Singers are little know in the US, this anthology shows “how a distant part of the world seems so foreign and yet so close to home.”   Ira Raja also writes that the collection seems at first “to confirm out expectations of the standard stereotypes associated with South Asia—poverty, caste, and the pressures of the traditional family—[it turns] those expectations around in bold, subtle, and intriguing ways, forcing readers to rethink everything they thought they knew about this place at the crossroads of the world” (quoted from the back cover).

Trevor Carolan was born in Yorkshire but grew up in New Westminster, British Columbia.  He received an interdisciplinary PH.D. at Bond University, Australia, and currently teaches English at University of the Fraser Valley near Vancouver.  His current works include Another Kind of Paradise: Short Stories from the New Asia-Pacific and Against The Shore: The Best of Pacific Rim Review of Books, which he co-edited with Richard Olafson.

The Last Atoll: Exploring Hawaiʻi’s Endangered Ecosystems

13238238-_uy475_ss475_by Pamela Frierson
Trinity University Press (forthcoming)

The Last Atoll: Exploring Hawai’i’s Endangered Ecosystems is Pamela Frierson’s first-person account of her journey up the Hawaiian Archipelago to the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. The most commonly known islands of the archipelago, from east to northwest,  are Hawaiʻi, Maui, Kahoʻolawe, Lānaʻi, Molokaʻi, Oʻahu, Kauaʻi, and Niʻihau.  The distance from the eastern shore of Hawaiʻi island to the western shore of Niʻihau is roughly 380 miles.  The entire archipelago, however, stretches for about another 900 miles to the northwest. On the tiny islands beyond Niʻihau, ecosystems are allowed to exist more or less untouched by the urbanization that is occurring on the principal islands of Hawaiʻi, especially on Oʻahu. Although these ecosystems remain mostly undisturbed, they are beginning to feel the effects of the world beyond their shores.

Pamela Frierson is the author of The Burning Island, and numerous articles and essays about the Pacific world. Her work has appeared in several anthologies, including The World Between Waves, A Thousand Leagues of Blue, and Intimate Nature. She is one of forty-four writers invited by Barry Lopez to write original work for Home Ground: Language for an American Landscape, featured on NPR’s “Living on Earth” program. In 2012, she received the Hawai`i Elliot Cades Award.

 

Monstress

51qugicl0xl-_sx331_bo1204203200_by Lysley Tenorio
HarperCollins Press, 2012.

Monstress introduces new writer, Lysley Tenorio, who explores the clash and meld of disparate cultures. In the National Magazine Award-nominated title story, a has-been movie director and his reluctant leading lady travel from Manila to Hollywood for one last chance at stardom, unaware of what they truly stand to lose. In “Felix Starro,” a famous Filipino faith healer and his grandson conduct an illicit business in San Francisco, though each has his own plans for their earnings. And after the Beatles reject an invitation from Imelda Marcos for a Royal Command Performance, an aging bachelor attempts to defend her honor by recruiting his three nephews to attack the group at the Manila International Airport in “Help.” (Publishers Description)

Lysley Tenorio lives in San Francisco, California, and is an associate professor at Saint Mary’s College. Lysley’s short stories have been published in numerous journals and anthologies. Manoa Journal has published two of his short stories: “The Brothers” appears in Jungle Planet and “Save the I-Hotel”  is included in Gates of Reconciliation.

Water Ghosts

by Shawna Yang Ryan
Penguin Books, 2010.

Locke, California, 1928. Three bedraggled Chinese women appear out of the mist in a small Chinese farming town on the Sacramento River. Two are unknown to its residents, while the third is the long-lost wife of Richard Fong, the handsome manager of the local gambling parlor. As the lives of the townspeople become inextricably intertwined with the newly arrived women, their frightening power is finally revealed.

An imagining of what happens when a Chinese ghost story comes true,Water Ghosts is a tale of human passions and mingling cultures. (Publisher’s description)

Shawna Yang Ryan was born in Sacramento, California.  Water Ghosts, originally published as Locke 1928, is her first book.  Ryan graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, then went on to receive an M.A. from the Creative Writing program at the University of California, Davis.  She is currently one of the  Distinguished Writers in Residence at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa.  Click Here to read an interview with Shawna Yang Ryan on Water Ghosts.

Drifting House

Drifting Houseby Krys Lee
Viking/Penguin, 2012.

Spanning the Korean peninsula and the United States, from the postwar era to contemporary times, Krys Lee’s fiction debut, Drifting House, is about people who are torn between the traumas of their collective past and the indignities and sorrows of their present.

In the title story, children escaping famine in North Korea are forced to make unthinkable sacrifices to survive. The tales set in America reveal the immigrants’ unmoored existence, playing out in cramped apartments and Koreatown strip malls. A makeshift family is fractured when a shaman from the old country moves in next door. An abandoned wife enters into a fake marriage in order to find her kidnapped daughter. (Publisher’s description.)

Although born and currently living in Seoul, South Korea, Krys Lee spent much of her childhood in California and Washington and spent time in England. In 2012 she received a special mention in the Pushcart Prize Anthology. In 2006 she was included in a short list of finalists for the Best New American Voices.

Aphrodite’s Island: The European Discovery of Tahiti

by Anne Salmond
University of California Press, 2009.

Aphrodite’s Island is a new account of the European discovery of Tahiti, the Pacific island of mythic status that has figured so powerfully in European imaginings about sexuality, the exotic, and the nobility or bestiality of “savages.” In this book, Anne Salmond takes readers to the center of the shared history to furnish insights into Tahitian perceptions of the visitors while illuminating the full extent of European fascination with Tahiti. As she discerns the impact and meaning of the European effect on the islands, she demonstrates how, during the early contact period, the mythologies of Europe and Tahiti intersected and became entwined. Drawing on Tahitian oral histories, European manuscripts and artworks, collections of Tahitian artifacts, and illustrated with contemporary sketches, paintings, and engravings from the voyages, Aphrodite’s Island provides an account of the Europeans’ Tahitian adventures. (Publisher’s description)

Anne Salmond is a historian, writer and academic. She worked closely with Eruera and Amiria Stirling, noted elders of Te Whaanau-a-Apanui and Ngati Porou, a collaboration which led to the publication of several books. Salmond has been the recipient of numerous literary awards, scholarships and academic prizes. In 1995 she was made a Dame Commander of the British Empire for services to New Zealand history, in 2004 she received a Prime Minister’s Award for Literary Achievement for non-fiction, and in 2007 she became an inaugural Fellow of the New Zealand Academy of the Humanities.