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  • Obasan
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3,6 sur 5 étoiles51
3,6 sur 5 étoiles
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le 17 février 2000
I enjoyed reading Obasan, by Joy Kogawa. I have been very interested in Japanese Internment Camps for some time now and because of this my principal suggested that I read this book. The novel started out slowly, but after learning the characters it became very interesting. The main character in this novel is Naomi NaKane, a Japanese Canadian. Dealing with the loss of her mother who traveled to Japan and then the loss of her father because of illness, makes this young girl's life very difficult. She and her brother Stephen are taken care of by their aunt and uncle. They are evacuted from their home in Vancouver and sent to an internment camp where they lived for three or four years. Then they were then sent to Granton to work on a farm. Here they lived in a rat infested shack which had to suffice for a home. After a few years they moved to their own house in Granton. When they arrived here they had to deal with new people and a completely new life. Can you imagine being taken out of your home and then after you had just started to make friends in the camp, be placed in a new home far away from who and what you've known for your entire life. That is what Naomi has to deal with, only you see it through a five year old's eyes as she grows up. She deals with the loss of many things such as her family, her surroundings, basically her life. After reading this book I suggest that you read Itsuka, another book by Joy Kogawa that deals with Naomi's later life.
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le 7 novembre 2001
Obasan, written by Joy Kogawa, is a deeply detailed book that sends the reader on a journey through actual events, dream sequences, and a twisted maze of a Japanese family's struggle in Canada during the 1940's-1970's. Although the book is obviously written with deeply emotional images and events, I found myself completely let down with the ending. With more than 250 pages of build up to what I expected to be a somewhat shocking ending, I was disappointed to discover that I wasn't emotional attached enough to the characters to appreciate their struggles. Although I enjoyed the book to an extent, I can not deny that it took me awhile to get into it, and then slipped in a heart wrenching account of events at the end that just didn't evoke emotions in me. Expect a well written novel with detailed images and poetic flow, yet also expect a slow beginning and an ending that seems to leave the reader hanging.
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le 12 février 1999
A great way to learn about the japanese-canadians internment, but frustrating that there is no resolution at the end because she never "hears" from her mother. author takes theme of "silence" way too far.
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le 15 février 2014
I purchased this book for one of my classes, but to be honest, I did not even finish it... I tried to enjoy it, and there were some parts that were interesting, but overall I found it to be confusing and boring.
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le 13 avril 2011
This book arrived on time, and in good condition.
I personally found it a slow read and would have tossed it aside if I didn't need it for my English class.
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le 11 janvier 2012
I remember reading this book in the mid-90s while in university. It's powerful at times, tender at others. Worth reading.
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le 29 mai 2015
It is worth reading so we don't forget how ignorance can damage the innocent.
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le 20 janvier 2002
In the introduction, the author states that "Although this novel is based on historical events, and many of the persons named are real, most of the characters are fictional." Without this explanation I would have never categorized Obasan as a novel. As I read it, I rarely felt as though I was reading a novel... I felt like I was reading a memoir. That is not a negative thing, (I love memoirs) but so much of what is in Obasan seems like... non-fiction. I wish it had just come right out with it and said... THIS IS A MEMOIR. Skip the fiction altogether. It's confusing... did this or did this NOT actually happen to the author? It simply does not read like a novel. And perhaps that is a credit to the author's skill. I don't know. But if, for instance, the many dream sequences are "fictional", then I conclude that Kogawa's imagination and daring lost me more than once... Here is one such scene (by the way, there are no typos in this example): "I am in a hospital. Father is in a hospital. A chicken is in a hospital. Father is a chicken is a dream that I am in a hospital where my neck and chin are covered with a thick red stubble of hair and I am reading the table of contents of a book that has no contents." These type of dream sequences (and there's many of them) seem nonsensical and don't add much to the overall "story" of Obasan... but if they are presented as "memoir" I can tolerate them much better. In other words, many moments, many chapters, I felt were not fictionally justified... they went nowhere! There seemed no purpose in making them up. At the end of the book I wondered why I had to know all that stuff about Old Man Gower next door UNLESS THIS IS A MEMOIR.
But Obasan is important for its historical significance. I am shamed to say that as a Canadian, I was not even aware of the persecution of the Japanese that took place in this country during World War II. Obasan is an appalling record of these terrible injustices. With the excuse that Canadians of Japanese origin represented a threat to national security, the Government of Canada passed a series of racially discriminatory (and racially motivated) laws and policies. In 1941, thousands were expelled from the province of B.C. (especially the coastal regions) and pushed inland and into Alberta for "resettlement". Property was seized and disposed of at the whim of the Government. Public pressure increased as the War went on, and by 1945, families that were already fractured and separated were permanently destroyed. A choice to go east of the Rockies or to Japan was presented without time for consultation with separated parents and children. Failure to make a swift choice was labelled as "non-cooperation". Obasan is the story of one such family that endured great hardships during this period. It begins in 1972, when the main character Naomi Nakane (now a schoolteacher) receives a phone call that her Uncle has passed away. She goes to comfort her grieving Aunt Obasan, and discovers a package that has recently arrived from another Aunt (Emily). Aunt Emily represents the uprooting of the past... she seeks to make sense of it all, and her package contains important documents and letters that Naomi would prefer to leave in the past. Soon Aunt Emily herself arrives at the house, and as she begins her uprooting, Naomi says with a tired sigh, "Life is so short, the past so long. Shouldn't we turn the page and move on?" "The past is the future," Aunt Emily replies.
And so begins the story of Naomi's life... through her own recollections, through dream sequences, Aunt Emily's journal, newspaper clippings, government documents, letters... the story is told. Exactly what happened to Naomi's mother and father?
The story returns in the end to 1972, where the adult Naomi reflects on how they were treated as a family and as a people. "The Government makes paper airplanes out of our lives and files us out the windows." It is reprehensible, a terrible reproach, that one person summarizes this period in Canadian history in such a way... and a tragedy that thousands do!
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