An anthology edited by Angie Sijun Lou with stories by Karen Tei Yamashita
May 7, 2024 • 6 x 9 • 304 Pages • 9781566896870
Eight authors’ works of personal nonfiction join with ten stories by Karen Tei Yamashita to illuminate the hidden histories of places large and small.
Faced with a scant historical record, Karen Tei Yamashita turns to fiction to animate the secrets of Santa Cruz, the city she’s called home for nearly three decades. Her characters come alive through her signature witty humor and surreal premises, transcending the past and urging themselves into the present to illuminate a hidden geography of this California coastal city unseen in textbooks.
Alongside these stories, eight nonfiction writers chart their own counternarratives of place through the greater United States. Diverging and converging in their scale and scope, from an unnamed lot on the bank of the Ohio River to the territory of Guam, their essays use language as an instrument of excavation, uncovering layers of hurt and desire concealed in the land.
About the Editor
Angie Sijun Lou is a Kundiman Fellow and a Ph.D. candidate in literature and creative writing at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her essays and criticism have appeared in the American Poetry Review, the Georgia Review, and Amerasia Journal. She lives in Oakland.
About the Author
Karen Tei Yamashita is the author of seven books (including I Hotel, finalist for the National Book Award, and most recently Sansei and Sensibility), all published by Coffee House Press. Recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters from the National Book Foundation, the John Dos Passos Prize for Literature, and a United States Artists’ Ford Foundation Fellowship, she is professor emerita of literature and creative writing at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Praise for Dark Soil
“Countering the relentless tendency of capitalist modernity, the exquisite geography of these chapters annihilates time by space. I can’t stop thinking about José Saramago, especially Raised from the Ground. Dark Soil’s multiple, stubborn narrators creatively mix humor and surprise with the extraordinary brutalities of ordinary violence. The book sings of planetary consciousness, refusing partitions and enclosures by remembering life in excess of such deadliness.” —Ruth Wilson Gilmore
"Karen Tei Yamashita and the essayists of Dark Soil have brought to life figures who have been passed over in history and literature. This book is like burning thousands of incense sticks in their honor. Dark Soil is a must read." —George Ow Jr.
Praise for Sansei and Sensibility
Longlisted for the 2020 Believer Book Award in Fiction
Kirkus, Best Fiction of 2020
“The range of characters, sparkling humor, connective themes, and creative ambition all showcase Yamashita’s impressive powers.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review
“An elegantly written, wryly affectionate mashup of Jane Austen and the Japanese immigrant experience. . . . Yamashita’s reimagining of Austen is sympathetic and funny—and as on target as the movie Clueless.” —Kirkus, starred review
Praise for I, Hotel
2010 National Book Award Finalist
2010 California Book Award Winner
2011 American Book Award Winner
2011 Asian American Literary Award Members’ Choice Winner
2011 Asian/Pacific American Library Association (APALA) Book Award Winner in Adult Fiction
“Stunningly complete. . . . Yamashita accomplishes a dynamic feat of mimesis by throwing together achingly personal stories of lovers, old men, and orphaned children; able synopses of historical events and social upheaval . . . This powerful, deeply felt, and impeccably researched fiction is irresistibly evocative.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review
“Exuberant, irreverent, passionately researched . . . Yamashita’s colossal novel of the dawn of Asian American culture is the literary equivalent of an intricate and vibrant street mural depicting a clamorous and righteous era of protest and creativity.” —Booklist, starred review