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Joy Kogawa "Obasan" - 3.5/5
Before I picked up this book, I knew nothing about the history of Japanese-Canadians. Sadly, I know almost nothing about Canadian history, period, and it had never even occurred to me that the Canadian government might have had similar anti-Japanese policies during WWII.

The book starts with the narrator, Naomi, as an adult in the '70s. When she goes to see her aunt after her uncle's death, she finds a package from her other aunt containing a diary and letters written during the war, which brings back her own memories of her childhood and the effect of the internment on her life.

I liked the way it was told. Reading other reviews, I've seen complaints about the timeline being confusing, but I didn't find it to be. I did think the ending kind of trailed off a little, though.

The main thing that kept me from really loving this was the language. There is a lot of really stilted, awkward dialogue, which in some places seems to signify that they're speaking Japanese (in many cases I can see what the Japanese is supposed to be by the extremely literal translations), but also occurs in other places where native English speakers are presumably speaking in English. There was also a lot of dialogue in Japanese, which was then repeated in English. This made it seem really repetitive, and the way it was done, with the repetition coming in the dialogue itself rather than clarified in the narrative, made it look as if everyone actually spoke everything twice, once in Japanese and once in English. It was just done in a really awkward way that grated on my nerves the longer it went on.

Still, I recommend the book despite that.


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