I Hotel by Karen Tei Yamashita

I have about 7 books half read at the moment (but I’m cheating because a lot of them are children’s and YA titles), but the one that’s really capturing my attention is ‘I Hotel’.
It’s not by any means a light read, as its form is experimental, and its themes range from politics to human rights to poverty in the Asian population in America. At the novel’s centre is the International Hotel, or the I Hotel, which becomes the center of the Asian Human Rights Movement in the 60s.
The ‘chapters’ are more like interlinking stories, told from different perspectives. (My favourite so far includes the postcards and letters between professor and student, each beginning with a fantastic quote from Chinese authors of the Revolution). Yamashita is a master of letting the reader figure out what’s going on by themselves – there’s one section that seems to be written by the community of dead Chinese immigrants, but it is never made explicit.
This is a book worth checking out if you are a student of literature, of Asian history, of American history, or if you are looking for a challenging and incredible read.
For a more comprehensive review, see East Los Angeles Dirigible Air Transport Lines


~ by ConsanguineousMind on June 30, 2010.

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