Review: The Beautiful One Has Come (Suzanne Kamata)
D. Michael Ramirez II
August 12, 2011
Reviewed in this post:
The Beautiful One Has Come
By Suzanne Kamata
The stories in The Beautiful One Has Come
take the reader through a rainbow of emotions born of the delicate interaction of culture and expectation. With the relationship between Japan and the West in the background, Suzanne weaves intimate portraits of Japanese and Western daily lives. By being out of place, we are reminded that we are all travelers in search of a home. And that sometimes, it is closer than we think. The book’s namesake, "The Beautiful One Has Come," about a young Japanese woman whose fascination with Egypt, reveals how travels can keep our heart at ease amidst the confusions of daily life.
For Suzanne’s characters, the poetic mismatching of person and environment is only a starting point. Written from a multigenerational, multicultural perspective, her stories are firmly ground in the sexual basis of human life. In "Havana" she leads with a story about a tryst that will make you want to sleep with your co-workers and friends. And later on in "Katoomba," we jump into the heart and mind of an elderly woman in the midst of flashbacks of romantic moments in Australia. In "Between" she presents us with the complex emotional lives of bicultural children. All in all, she takes her readers full circle through the roller coaster of life. And yet, all her characters pay a price for this vibrancy – at no one moment are they at rest. This consequence of being born a sexual being strongly resonates as the foundation of her stories.
The dramas within The Beautiful One Has Come
are revealed in a confident and personal tone. There is a calmness and clarity emanating throughout the work. So clear and knowing are the sentiments voiced within that readers might ask themselves, "Where did this story come from? Suzanne herself must have been here..." Readers will certainly feel close to this author who has created a window into the intimate lives of her characters. They entice us to read closely, and listen well, as if our sister, mother or best friend had decided to finally tell us their tale.