Thoughtful, sensitive exploration of contemporary Japanese culture.

WRONG ABOUT JAPAN

A FATHER’S JOURNEY WITH HIS SON

Booker-winning Carey (The True History of the Kelly Gang, 2001, etc.) ruefully describes a visit with his son in search of “the Real Japan,” during which he learns that his ideas, like all assumptions about the unfamiliar, are flawed.

The Careys live in New York, where 12-year-old Charley has accumulated an extensive collection of Japanese comic books (manga) and developed an interest in the animated films (anime), especially the ones about a malevolent entity named Akira that lies dormant in Tokyo. Wanting his shy, gangly son to enjoy the trip, Carey promises, “No temples. No museums.” Once in Tokyo, though they stay in an old inn and Carey slips in a visit to a Kabuki performance, he essentially concentrates on Charley’s interests, figuring that “we might enter the mansion of Japanese culture through its garish, brightly lit back door.” Perhaps he could learn from the manga creators, whose woodcut illustrations recall famous traditional Japanese prints, about their links to the samurai and the historical arts of war. Trying to eat only Japanese food, father and son begin their research. They visit a traditional sword-maker and Akihabara Electric Town, a six-story bazaar that dazzles Charley. The Grave of Fireflies, a novel that became a famous anime about children trying to survive in a fiery world, leads them to Mr. Takazi, a friend of the author’s who eloquently recalls the WWII fire-bombings. They also meet the creator of the popular series featuring Gundam, a giant robot, and have coffee with the director of Blood: The Last Vampire. This is primarily a travel memoir, not a sentimental effusion about a father and son bonding in a foreign land. Charley has a great time, but Carey is not sure that his understanding of Japan is any deeper: nothing is what he thought it was, and the answers to his questions are elusive and noncommittal.

Thoughtful, sensitive exploration of contemporary Japanese culture.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2005

ISBN: 1-4000-4311-5

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2004

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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IN MY PLACE

From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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