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Itsuka

Joy Kogawa

“What is for you the breath of life?” Someday — itsuka — Naomi Nakane will answer this question.

In Obasan, Naomi’s childhood was torn apart by Canada’s betrayal of Japanese Canadian citizens during the 1940s. Now, years later, Naomi’s scars have left her fragile and uncertain. Quietly teaching school on the prairies, she watches as her family slips away from her. When Naomi’s Aunt Emily brings her to Toronto and, almost unwillingly, encourages her to become involved in the Japanese Canadian fight for redress, Naomi embarks on an emotional and political journey that takes her deep into her own soul, and deep into the soul of Canada. Politically charged and intimately poetic, Itsuka tells a story of profound hope, extraordinary commitment and the fragile progress of love.

“Kogawa is a beautiful and elegant writer.” —Kingston Whig-Standard

“A poetic novel filled with dreams, images and emotions… Itsuka is both idealistic and realistic, a superb realization of a journey out of fear made by individuals in the process of forging community.” —Ottawa Citizen

“An important book, one that tells us stories we have denied or disowned.” —Toronto Star

Itsuka brings to life one of the sorriest chapters in Canadian history. It is a worthy successor to Obasan.” —Calgary Herald