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Is Karen Tei Yamashita’s I Hotel the Great American Novel? It’s not impossible to make that claim. In this masterpiece of fragmentation—a vast and sprawling edifice of a book, a mash-up of history and fiction in the form of 10 linked narratives—Yamashita aspires to create not a unified voice but rather a chorus of perspectives: Filipino American, Japanese American, Chinese American, and more. The result is a novel that encapsulates not just one community or moment but the diaspora of Asian experience in the Bay Area during the decade from 1968 to 1977. The book is playful and it is knowing; it is also deadly serious in its intention to evoke, through a grab bag of stories, quotes, fables, and appropriations, the collective psyche of Asian American life.

Coffee House Press


Coffee House Press