Notes: The first collection of short stories by a Japanese American writer in English. The stories are interconnected and offer an intimate look at Issei and Nisei family life in the 1920s and 1930s. The book was scheduled for publication in 1942, but it was postponed by the outbreak of World War Two. Mori was interned at Topaz, in Utah, and he added two autobiographical stories to the book inspired by his time in the camps. "Tomorrow Is Coming, Children" is narrated by an Issei grandmother who recounts her life story up to the start of the war. "Slant-eyed American" is the story of a Nisei soldier on leave in the immediate aftermath of the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Of the three great Japanese American books published immediately after the Second World War, including Citizen 13660 and No-No Boy, Yokohama, California is probably the scarcest.
With an introduction by William Saroyan, who starts his essay with one of the most remarkable backhanded compliments in literature: "Of the thousands of unpublished writers in America there are probably no more than three who cannot write better English than Toshio Mori. His stories are full of grammatical errors. His use of English, especially when he is most eager to say something good, is very bad.. In spite of all this, Toshio Mori is probably one of the most important new writers in the country at the moment. He is a natural-born writer."
Edition + Condition: First edition (first printing). A very good copy in a very good dust jacket. The jacket has short tears along the top edge, a bit of loss at the top of the spine, and an old quarter-sized dampstain on the front panel. Better than it sounds.
Publication: Caldwell, ID: Caxton Printers, 1949.
Item No: #362537