Karen Tei Yamashita: Fictions of Magic and Memory (Paperback)
Karen Tei Yamashita's novels, essays, and performance scripts have garnered considerable praise from scholars and reviewers, and are taught not only in the United States but in at least half a dozen countries in Asia, South America, and Europe. Her work has been written about in numerous disciplines in the humanities and social sciences. Karen Tei Yamashita: Fictions of Magic and Memory is the first anthology given over to Yamashita's writing. It contains newly commissioned essays by established, international scholars; a recent interview with the author; a semiautobiographical keynote address delivered at an international conference that ruminates on her Japanese American heritage; and a full bibliography. The essays offer fresh and in-depth readings of the magic realist canvas of Through the Arc of the Rain Forest (1990); the Japanese emigrant portraiture of Brazil-Maru (1992); Los Angeles as rambunctious geopolitical and transnational fulcrum of the Americas in Tropic of Orange (1997); the fraught relationship of Japanese and Brazilian heritage and labor in Circle K Cycles (2001); Asian American history and politics of the 1960s in I Hotel (2010); and Anime Wong (2014), a gallery of performativity illustrating the contested and inextricable nature of East and West. This essay-collection explores Yamashita's use of the fantastical, the play of emerging transnational ethnicity, and the narrative tactics of reflexivity and bricolage in storytelling located on a continuum of the unique and the communal, of the past and the present, and that are mapped in various spatial and virtual realities.
A. Robert Lee, formerly of the University of Kent, UK, was professor of American literature at Nihon University, Tokyo, from 1996 to 2011.