September 22nd, 2007

  • pylduck

Milton Murayama's All I Asking For Is My Body

I finally got around to reading this novel. I had planned on finishing it in time for this past Thursday's class but just couldn't.

I wonder how much it is like John Okada's No-No Boy (I'm ashamed to say I haven't read that classic yet though I am rectifying that by assigning it later this semester). At the center of Murayama's novel is the Oyama family. The narrator Kiyoshi is the second son of the family, and he looks up to the number one son Toshio, his older brother, very much. Their dynamic is interesting -- certainly not antagonistic or really even competitive but clearly linked. The more Tosh rebels against the parents and yearns for freedom from the debt of the family (that leads to his need to work on the plantation indefinitely for the family), the more Kiyo feels a need to help provide for his parents and younger siblings. And yet, he, too, tries to find a better life through the boxing circuit and eventually in joining the US Army and the nisei battalion.

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