Letters to Memory is an excursion through the Japanese internment using archival materials from the Yamashita family as well as a series of epistolary conversations with composite characters representing a range of academic specialties. Historians, anthropologists, classicists—their disciplines, and Yamashita’s engagement with them, are a way for her to explore various aspects of the internment and to expand its meaning beyond her family, and our borders, to ideas of debt, forgiveness, civil rights, orientalism, and community.
“Shaped and voiced with literary flair, this is clearly a book Yamashita felt compelled to write, and her sense of purpose makes this historical excavation feel deeply personal.” —Kirkus
“While this account may provide context for some of the themes found in Yamashita’s fiction, the author’s personal reflections on a dark period of American history will resonate with a larger audience concerned with how some U.S. organizations have targeted specific communities.” —Library Journal, *starred review*
“Yamashita positions these stories within larger questions—what is the meaning of evil, justice, war, and forgiveness? . . . Yamashita’s hopscotch approach makes the deeper claim that there is no explanation and no possible reparation for events like slavery, internment, or the bombing of Hiroshima—only the disorienting reality they produce and the legacy of pain, distrust, and shame they leave behind.” —Publishers Weekly
“Letters to Memory is not only for history buffs searching out new perspectives, but for anyone wanting to better understand humanity.” —NewPages