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About The Book

In this dazzling debut collection, Mary Yukari Waters, a remarkably gifted, award-winning Japanese-American writer, opens a window onto a foreign culture as she reveals the universal humanity of her characters. These uncommonly elegant and assured stories explore Japanese society caught between the long shadow of World War II and the rapid advance of Westernization. The women and children who inhabit these crystalline tales have lost husbands and fathers in the war and now face a world dramatically altered by Western influence.
In "Aftermath," a mother watches her son play American dodgeball and eat Western food as she desperately tries to keep alive the memory of his father, who was killed in the war. "Since My House Burned Down" depicts a Japanese widow, permanently displaced from her kitchen by her daughter-in-law, reflecting on the deprivations of wartime as the acidic, foreign smell of tomato sauce wafts upstairs. In "Egg-Face," latent hope kindles for thirty-year-old, jobless Ritsuko when a matchmaker arranges for her to meet a handsome young man. And "The Way Love Works"explores favoritism in three generations of women when a Japanese American teenager returns to Japan with her mother.
These finely etched portraits of upheaval and renewal, estrangement and reconciliation, provide keen insight into the Japanese experience and sensibility. A virtuoso collection infused with a warmth that invites readers to feel at home in a world that might otherwise seem alien, The Laws of Evening will undoubtedly place Mary Yukari Waters in the company of our most revered writers.

About The Author


Mary Yukari Waters is half Japanese and half Irish-American. The recipient of an O. Henry award, a Pushcart Prize, and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, she has been published in The Best American Short Stories 2002 and 2003, The Pushcart Book of Short Stories: The Best Stories from a Quarter-Century of the Pushcart Prize, and Francis Ford Coppola's Zoetrope 2 anthology. She earned her MFA from the University of California, Irvine, and lives in Los Angeles.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Scribner (April 11, 2003)
  • Length: 192 pages
  • ISBN13: 9780743243995

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Raves and Reviews

Chicago Tribune An impressive collection from a young writer exploring subjects of immense intrinsic value...assured and complex.

Vogue [A]n elegant debut....With unnerving subtlety [Waters] navigates the ways people in exile find comfort in the everyday traditions they cannot bear to leave behind.

Elle Resonant and deeply felt...each story has the multi-faceted clarity of a rare gem.

Los Angeles Times Muted and delicate, Waters' stories ache with loss.

San Francisco Chronicle As meticulous as origami....Waters...lets nothing get past her in this splendid book.

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