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9780676971958_cover

The Electrical Field

by Kerri Sakamoto

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list price: $21.00
edition:Paperback
also available: Paperback
category: Fiction
published: 1998
ISBN:9780676971958
publisher: Knopf Canada
imprint: Vintage Canada
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Awards
  • Winner, Canada-Japan Literary Awards
  • Winner, Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best First Novel
  • Short-listed, Arthur Ellis Award for Best First Novel
  • Short-listed, Governor General's Literary Awards - Fiction
  • Short-listed, Kiriyama Pacific Rim Book Prize
  • Long-listed, IMPAC Dublin Award
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Description

When the beautiful Chisako and her lover are found murdered in a park, members of the small Ontario community must finally acknowledge certain inescapable truths. Set in the 1970s, The Electrical Field reaches deep into the past to explore the dire legacy of the internment of Japanese-Canadians during the war.

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Excerpt

I happened to be dusting the front window-ledge when I saw her running across the grassy strip of the electrical field. I stepped out onto the porch and called to her. I could tell she heard me because she slowed down a bit, hesitated before turning. I waved.

"Sachi!" I shouted. "What is it?"

She barely paused to check for cars before crossing the concession road in front of my yard; not that many passed since the new highway to the airport had been built. Shyly she edged up my porch steps to where I stood. She was out of breath, her eyes filled with an adult's burden. "I don't know," she said, panting. "Maybe it's nothing."

The sweat glistened on her, sweet, odourless water, and it struck me as odd, her sweating so much -- a girl and a nihonjin at that; we nihonjin, we Japanese, hardly perspire at all, and the late spring air was cool that day. I sat down to signal calm and patted the lawn chair beside me. She sat but kept jiggling one knee. Finally she stood up again. "Yano came and took -- ," she began.

"Mr. Yano," I broke in, though everyone called him Yano, even myself. "He took Tam out of class this morning. Kimi too."

"Tamio," I corrected her, as if I could tell her what to call the boy, her special friend. As if I could tell her anything. "A doctor's appointment, maybe?"

She shook her head as a child does, flinging her hair all about. Though at thirteen going on fourteen, she no longer was a child, I reminded myself.

"Yano looked crazy," she went on. "Like I've never seen him. His hands were like this." She clenched her fists and gritted her brace-clad teeth: a fierce little animal. "He hadn't taken a bath, not for a long time," she said, pinching her flat nose and grimacing. "Worse than usual. Everybody noticed."

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Contributor notes

Kerri Sakamoto is a Toronto-born writer of fiction as well as film and visual arts criticism.

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Editorial Review

"Darkly beautiful.... Delicate, absorbing." -- Saturday Night
"A haunting, harrowing tale that illustrates . . . more powerfully than polemics, the ravages of history on hearts and lives." -- Joy Kogawa

"A stunning novel ... A major new force in the landscape of Canadian fiction." -- The Toronto Star
"Extraordinary [and] insightful ... sure-footed and sophisticated [and] very moving." -- The Globe and Mail
"Spooky, atmospheric, unveiling its secrets with uncanny assurance, Kerri Sakamoto's remarkable debut becomes impossible to put down. Not since Ishiguro's early novels has the Japanese experience on the New World been captured so subtly, and with such eerie and elliptical intimacy" -- Pico Iyer

"Hypnotic, haunting, and utterly original. From within the mind of a woman scarred by war and injustice, Kerri Sakamoto illuminates that shadowy terrain where history meets illicitly with sexuality and human longing." -- David Henry Hwang, author of M. Butterfly
"The Electrical Field, with its combination of bodily mystery and mental convolution, resembles such great gothic fiction as Wuthering Heights." --The Financial Post

"A ... darkly beautiful ... Kabuki-like elegance. Delicate, absorbing, The Electrical Field recognizes two hard truths: the only redress available to those betrayed by history is love; and, love is difficult to come by." --Saturday Night magazine, Book of the Month

"The Electrical Field bristles with memory and regret, passion and passivity. ... Kerri Sakamoto, with just one book beneath her belt, has established herself as a young writer of the first order." --The Halifax Daily News

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