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Japan

Messineo’s ‘The Fire by Night’ Sheds Light on Nurses During Wartime

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Though all wars result in the same atrocious outcome, they are hardly similar in their origins. They often start with an incident, a provocation, appearing to be insignificant, but releasing long-supressed emotions. This can be a process which may take years to burn out. On May 8, 2017, we celebrated the official end of WWII, and though the conflict has been over for more than 70 years, it still continues to consume us on intellectual and spiritual levels. We still try to comprehend how atrocities of this magnitude are possible. We remember the main perpetrators, their names synonymous with locations, whereas all the forgotten heroes and sacrificed populations are collectively remembered as the ‘casualties.’ Even in memory, wars and history…

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A conversation across the Pacific in Ruth Ozeki’s A TALE FOR THE TIME BEING

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I’m not going to be coy here: I loved Ruth Ozeki’s newest book, A Tale for the Time Being (Viking, 2013). Ozeki writes herself into a complex and rich novel by imagining many what ifs: What if I found a 16-year-old girl’s diary washed up on the beach in British Columbia? What if Nao wrote the diary in Japan, her parent’s country, only she is horrifically bullied because she doesn’t fit in after growing up in Silicon Valley? What if her diary seemed to be her last words as both she and her father contemplate committing suicide? What if “Ruth” couldn’t find any trace of her on the Internet or corroborate her actual existence, but felt compelled to try to…

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