Summary: The tale of a life flipped over - twice.
My Thoughts: Our general failure as a world community to see beyond skin tones and other differences is as pronounced today as it was in ages past. Try as we might, we just can't seem to break racism the world over.
Masao Abe's tale, told by his son's significant other, reminds us that simpler times weren't all they were advertised to be. Abe, an American-born, Japanese-educated American soldier in World War II not only had to face the fact that his country was fighting Japanese troops during the war, he came face to face with them in the field as an interpreter for captured Japanese soldiers in combat in the Pacific. His family lived in Japan during the war, while his uncle and aunt faced internment in detention camps simply for being of Japanese descent.
The author moves back and forth from modern day and historical settings, and admits in some cases she had to recreate scenes and dialogues as she believed they must have taken place, based on Abe's memories. We end up with a story of a man divided, alone, tormented, never knowing whether or not the bullet that would get him would come from the front or back.