Requiem for Healing
By Frances Itani
Atlantic Monthly Press, $24.00, 320 pages
For historical novelists, this novel is satisfying and eye opening. Requiem follows Bin, a Japanese-Canadian, who relates the story of his childhood as he travels across Canada toward the concentration camp he and his family were forced to live in during World War II. As the novel progresses, the author reveals, through Bin, the struggles Canadian-born Japanese faced during the war immediately after the attack on Pearl Harbor and the racism that cut so deep the wound has yet to heal completely.
The novel is relaxing and slow moving, but not in the way that struggles to keep your attention. As the story delves deeper into Bin’s past, you also learn of his present struggles as he works to distance himself from the world built around him for 5 years. Beautifully written and fascinating, Frances Itani’s Requiem is a tragic novel, which reveals the mind of a man facing his past while removing himself from his heart-breaking present. Itani has most definitely written a masterpiece fit for anyone who wishes to learn a little more regarding the Japanese experience during World War II.
Reviewed by Taylor Pittman