Monday, February 20, 2006

Lois-Ann Yamanaka

Behold the Many is life-affirming and inspirational. The characters are imperfect and vulnerable. Consumption claims the life of sisters who in term claim the rights of sisterhood beyond death. The individual sisters, upon reflection, read best as representing parts of the whole. We are each the wicked & wild, rebellious sister, the gentle sister in our weaknesses and the heroine in the combination of these qualities. We all haunt the ones we love, possessing one another through assimilation of qualities rather than projection of best and worst.

Men have obviously been a point of contention for Yamanaka. Damaging relationships with a father and/or lovers has required binoculars to bring into focus the potential good that can be had from an equal relationship between the sexes. Actually, we are challenged to provide our own positive examples upon reflection when reading as Yamanaka seems willing, though unable, to come up with anything remotely resembling equal when it comes to the sexes. The differences, resulting from biological functions and anatomy, seems to supercede the possibility. There is not getting around the physical facts. Segue here into re-reading the reviews on fiction by the father of the Pill for general direction of mental tangent.

Yamanka is still quite young and writes with wisdom and vision. Her work is bound to deepen in wisdom, as she ages. Have read BLU's HANGING and HEADS BY HARRY, both charming and original re-creations of life in the Islands as seen through the eyes of its children (often multi-ethnic & minimally bi-racial). For anyone quesitoning the influence of Indo-European VS Asian values, Hawaii has been and continues to be geographical litmus paper testing ground.
Father of the Four Passages...
I just learned Yamanka has also written some children's boks and am ordering them for our library. Also, another novel: Saturday Night at the Pahala Theater.