The story of three generations of a Japanese-American family whose lives are tragically affected by the Second World War when they are interned in camps in the American West.Why She Left Us revolves around an intriguing mystery: a Japanese AmericanMoreThe story of three generations of a Japanese-American family whose lives are tragically affected by the Second World War when they are interned in camps in the American West.Why She Left Us revolves around an intriguing mystery: a Japanese American womans abandonment of her illegitimate child during World War II.
Rahna Reiko Rizzuto reveals the reason for her act--and its effect on four generations of her family--in a series of alternating narratives. A son, daughter, mother, and brother all chime in, and the authors sophisticated interweaving of their tales is what gives this debut novel much of its power.Rizzutos book includes its share of violent and disturbing incidents. A daughter helps her mother give birth on the floor of a shack- a son accompanies his senile grandfather to the toilet- a brother delivers a swift kick to his pregnant sisters belly.
Yet Why She Left Us never relies on mere sensationalism. For one thing, the authors prose is strong and vivid, and shes particularly good at evoking the passage of time: My life doesnt come to me in any order, notes one character. Moments flip-flop, overlap--sometimes they come only in splinters. This isnt, it should be said, a big-canvas portrait of wartime life. But Rizzuto has produced a minute and successful investigation of the moments that define what a family is.That leaves the initial mystery.
To her credit, Rizzuto doesnt come up with a pat solution: instead, she offers up a collage of perceptions, which fuse into a kind of answer as the story progresses. In other words, this is the latest addition to a growing canon of diplomatic, Rashomon-like novels. Why She Left Us is a true study in perspectives--and a kaleidoscopic lesson about the nature of memory and forgiveness. --Rucker Alex, Amazon.com Review