Author Julie Otsuka tells the story of Japanese immigrants in the first part of the 20th century in a unique way. She describes the experience of the multitude by listing through a single observation of individuals in succession. It has the effect of a survey, but the detail she has chosen in each case is so telling, the survey forms a rich human tapestry and creates a powerful impression of this historic moment. Beginning with migrant labor camps and ending with internment camps, she produces a portrait of hopes dashed after a great struggle. Haunting.
This is the funniest book I’ve read this year. It features a family headed west from Birmingham for California where the evangelist father of two very different daughters expects to get the best seats available for the coming Rapture. Their drive through the south is full of hysterical characters and family struggle. The sister who tells the story is a believer;the other is a cynic. Mary Miller is a master of character and situation. I expect to see many other books from this new novelist.
There seem to be an abundance of "end of the world" tales lately, but White Horse presents us with a terrifying and intense experience. A plague has killed off 90% of the population. The war between China and the US has depleted resources. Scientific experiments with weather have irreparably damaged the climate. Of the 10% of humans that survived the disease, half seem untouched while the other half have suffered horrific mutations. Our heroine, Zoe, guides us through this nightmare of a landscape, alternating her narration between "before" and "after" chapters. She is determined to stay alive as she works her way from America to Greece, hoping against hope to reunite with her lover before her baby is born. Fierce, violent, shocking, this is a haunting book. And even though it's part of a projected trilogy, White Horse has resolution and closure. An amazing debut from Ms. Adams.