One of my greatest pleasures is to come upon a book that I simply can’t put down. That’s what happened when I took a chance on this book that I saw on display in our local library.
It is “Requiem” by Frances Itani. I had never heard of her but it appears that she is a well known Canadian writer and I feel sure that AC and Philip will know the name.
In a nutshell this is the story of Bin Okuma, a Canadian artist who is suffering the loss of his wife … compounded by the memories and the anger he has suppressed for years due to his unjust youth. He and his family were part of the 21,000 citizens of Japanese ancestry who were sent to Canadian internment camps during World War II.
Ms. Itani weaves her story around the long drive that Bin, now in his mid fifties, takes from Ottawa to British Columbia to visit the site of the camp where he spent his childhood. She recalls in great detail what life was like then and how the families survived despite great deprivation.
I found her book especially fascinating since I never realized that Canada took part in this round-up like we did here in the United States. It’s interesting to note that as I write this it is Dec. 7th … 71 years to the day that the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. To our everlasting shame 127,000 Japanese-Americans, most of them from the West Coast, were uprooted from their homes and relocated to internment camps after that attack.