::ABOUT THE BOOK::
In the sparse, lyrical style of a classic pillow book, Miss Gone-overseas chronicles a wartime life that doesn’t focus on guns, bombs or military depredations, but on the pedestrian life of a lower-class Japanese woman as she reflects on the turmoil around her. Set on a lush tropical island during the later part of World War II, the book begins and ends with separations that are also beginnings.
This is an expertly crafted little book that paints a rich picture with minimal brush strokes. Just enough detail to set the scene and tell the story. I can see how this might not sit well with someone expecting a straightforward story with everything explained, but for a reader willing to stretch the mind, this is an exercise that will leave one glowing with pleasure. I’m delighted to have stumbled across this gem.
In the space of this novella, Hagerstrom, created a character that finds her way into your heart as a living breathing woman. I fell into the spell by a good storyteller. I could “see” the beads of sweat glistening on her skin, I could “hear” the clicking of the go stones, I could “feel” the intense oppressive humidity of the island. When the tale ended I felt this world Hagerstrom had created evaporate; how I miss it.
I quite simply could not put the book (Kindle) down. I knew the Japanese held the old Japanese Mandates/ US Trust Territory and now Federated States of Micronesia but didn’t realize the extent of Japnese colonies there. But this isn’t a history book, rather, the story of one Japanese comfort woman as WW2 ends in the Pacific. Like the previous reviewer, I could feel the breeze and smell the jasmine. As with the best of novels I was left wanting even more.
This short novel was a wonderful diary like compilation of the times of a Japanese sex slave during World War II. Without the need for graphic writing, the story conveyed a haunting loneliness during a challenging time regardless of whose side you are on.
Enjoyed this book, especially the spare style. Hagerstrom tells a lovely story of a difficult time, letting the plain language convey worlds of emotion just under the surface. Want to read more by this author.
Also available at Farewell Books in Austin, Texas.
::ABOUT THE AUTHOR::
Mitchell Anne Hagerstrom was born in Iowa City, now lives in Austin. In between were sojourns on (or in) the East Coast, the West Coast, two Southern states, a Mid-West state, some Pacific Islands, and the Far East. Many of these locales reappear in her fictions.
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