Other books byJulie Shigekuni
Blue Mesa Review
After eighteen years as an annual publication, Issue 19 marksBlue Mesa Review'spassage into biannual production. This Spring 2007 issue will feature a new format. Literary highlights will include an interview with Native American scholar and novelist Gerald Vizenor and a new translations section will be inaugurated with renowned Chinese poet Ting Shu's debut in English. Also featured will be highly regarded poets Mary Ruefle and Hilda Raz and emerging poet Lauren Goodwin Slaughter. Fiction contributors are to include Jacob M. Appel, Dulcie Leimbach, and Anis Shivani. Nonfiction essays and book reviews round out the issue.
In this long-awaited follow-up to her acclaimed debut novel, A Bridge Between Us, Julie Shigekuni offers a beautiful and disturbing look at the intimacy and isolation, desire and despair that haunt a young woman’s life. Invisible Gardens is the story of Lily Soto, a thirty-five-year-old Japanese-American woman, who, despite two young children, a stable marriage, and a teaching career based on a book she has finally completed, feels her life is falling apart. An extended stay by her aging father brings back painful memories of her dead mother—and amplifies how a family legacy has infiltrated Lily’s perfectly constructed, but painfully flawed, life. As Lily struggles to meet the daily needs of her children, her husband, her father, and her career, and in an attempt to avert her attention from what is troubling her, she begins an affair with a male colleague. It’s this illicit relationship that challenges Lily either to abandon her most intimate relationships or to approach her life with renewed insight. In lyrical and precise prose, the novel examines the forces that women in their thirties face—forces that for Lily may mean not only the end of her own happiness but, more important, the dissolution of her marriage and her family.
Unending Nora is a love story, though not in the ordinary sense. Having retreated to the streets of the east San Fernando Valley amidst an intense heat wave, Nora Yano, who has lived the first 29 years of her life as a devout Christian and an outcast, strikes up a relationship with a stranger and experiences sexual intimacy for the first time. When Nora mysteriously disappears, her best and only friends Caroline and Melissa, each with their own lives to consider, must decide what they’re willing to risk to find her. The complications that ensue, along with an unexpected arrival home, set this novel in motion. Beneath the stories of four compelling women, Shigekuni creates inUnending Noraweb of ideas concerning the after effects of wartime internment. Fresh out of the camps, a displaced and emotionally scarred generation clustered together to form a community; they even took on a religion in order to adapt to the society that oppressed them. Now their offspring, four young women coming of age in their thirties, must carve their own path. Unending Norais a story about finding love through adversity. In an ambitious examination of faith, shame, and desire, Julie Shigekuni takes up where John Okada left off over fifty years ago with his masterpieceNo-No Boy—to tell the story of a community ready to mark its place in the larger world.