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Julie Shigekuni

Julie Shigekuni is the author of four novels and a finalist for the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Award, as well as the recipient of the PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Award for Excellence in Literature. She has received a Henfield Award and an American Japanese Literary Award for her writing. Her fiction has been translated into German, Swedish, Danish, and Norwegian. Shigekuni received her B.A. from CUNY Hunter College and her M.F.A. from Sarah Lawrence College. She is currently at work on a novella and short story collection entitled Beep on Me, and a 60-minute video documentary, Manju Mammas & the An-Pan Brigade, for which she has received funding from the California Council for the Humanities and the Skirball Foundation and sponsorship from Visual Communications, an all Asian media network. She is a Professor in the Creative Writing program and Development Director of the Asian American Studies program at the University of New Mexico.

In Plain View

In Plain View

"Daidai and her husband Hiroshi have what many of their friends believe is a perfect life. Daidai has recently left her job as curator of the Japanese American Museum in Los Angeles’s Little Tokyo so that she and Hiroshi, a university professor, can try for a baby. Frustrated by their lack of success so far, and by their increasingly clinical love life, Daidai befriends Satsuki, one of Hiroshi’s graduate students. Newly arrived from Japan, Satsuki clings to her friendship to Daidai and quickly becomes a mainstay in their household.

Spurred by a revelation concerning Satsuki's estranged mother and a disturbing trip to Japan where Daidai discovered Satsuki's father was engaged in illegal, and illicit, activities, Daidai begins to seriously question Satsuki's seemingly innocent connection to three possible murders.

Daidai's concerns about Satsuki are dismissed as jealousy by her husband until Daidai's investigation will lead to a harrowing confrontation between the two women, and Satsuki's true intentions will be revealed. At once a taut psychological thriller and examination of cultural divides, Shigekuni's In Plain View is never as it appears."

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Invisible Gardens

Invisible Gardens

"Invisible Gardens is the story of Lily Soto, a thirty-five-year-old Japanese-American woman, who, despite two young children, a stable marriage, and a teaching career based on a book she has finally completed, feels her life is falling apart. An extended stay by her aging father brings back painful memories of her dead mother—and amplifies how a family legacy has infiltrated Lily’s perfectly constructed, but painfully flawed, life. As Lily struggles to meet the daily needs of her children, her husband, her father, and her career, and in an attempt to avert her attention from what is troubling her, she begins an affair with a male colleague. It’s this illicit relationship that challenges Lily either to abandon her most intimate relationships or to approach her life with renewed insight.

In lyrical and precise prose, the novel examines the forces that women in their thirties face—forces that for Lily may mean not only the end of her own happiness but, more important, the dissolution of her marriage and her family. "

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Unending Nora

Unending Nora

"Unending Nora is a love story, though not in the ordinary sense. Having retreated to the streets of the east San Fernando Valley amidst an intense heat wave, Nora Yano, who has lived the first 29 years of her life as a devout Christian and an outcast, strikes up a relationship with a stranger and experiences sexual intimacy for the first time.

When Nora mysteriously disappears, her best and only friends Caroline and Melissa, each with their own lives to consider, must decide what they’re willing to risk to find her. The complications that ensue, along with an unexpected arrival home, set this novel in motion. Beneath the stories of four compelling women, Shigekuni creates in Unending Nora web of ideas concerning the after effects of wartime internment. Fresh out of the camps, a displaced and emotionally scarred generation clustered together to form a community; they even took on a religion in order to adapt to the society that oppressed them. Now their offspring, four young women coming of age in their thirties, must carve their own path.

Unending Nora is a story about finding love through adversity. In an ambitious examination of faith, shame, and desire, Julie Shigekuni takes up where John Okada left off over fifty years ago with his masterpiece No-No Boy—to tell the story of a community ready to mark its place in the larger world."

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