Talking to the Dead(1993)
A collection of stories by Sylvia Watanabe
PEN/Faulkner Award for fiction Best Book (nominee)
Although some of these 10 interrelated stories told by residents of a Hawaiian community linger in the memory, others soon evaporate. Watanabe's spare prose focuses on extended families and on events suffused with spirituality. Noteworthy stories include "Anchorage," in which a young woman hesitates to leave her father, a former artist afficted with Alzheimer's disease, for school in Alaska; and the O. Henry Award-winning title story, about an elderly mystic who conducts funeral rites and her squeamish but dedicated young apprentice. Occasional references to the sea, lava and the La Hula Rhumba Bar and Grill remind us that the action occurs in exotic Hawaiian settings. Primarily, however, Watanabe directs her attention to conflicts between characters--domineering parents, rebellious kids, local eccentrics--who could be at home in any small town. Her debut collection offers tales that are alternately engaging and listless. Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. From Library JournalWatanabe's collection of related short stories of life in a Hawaiian village before the massive development brought on by tourism carries on a tradition in Asian American literature propagated initially by Maxine Hong Kingston ( Tripmaster Monkey: His Fake , LJ 4/1/89) called talk stories. The stories are filled with eccentric--some would say, extraordinary--characters like the Little Grandma in "Anchorage" who turns her son's descent into old age and kleptomania into beautiful quilts.
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Used availability for Sylvia Watanabe's Talking to the Dead
July 1993 : USA Paperback
August 1994 : UK Paperback
Title: Talking to the Dead
Author(s): Sylvia Watanabe
ISBN: 0-7043-4407-6 / 978-0-7043-4407-5 (UK edition)
Publisher: The Women's Press
Availability: Amazon UK
December 2010 : USA, UK Kindle edition