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"This splendid story collection is a sword through the heart."--Ben Fountain
From the O. Henry Prize-winning author comes a heartbreakingly beautiful and brutal exploration of lives fragmented by the Pacific side of World War II.
Spanning more than 150 years, and set in multiple locations in colonial and postcolonial Asia and the United States, Inheritors paints a kaleidoscopic portrait of its characters as they grapple with the legacies of loss, imperialism, and war.
Written from myriad perspectives and in a wide range of styles, each of these interconnected stories is designed to speak to the others, contesting assumptions and illuminating the complicated ways we experience, interpret, and pass on our personal and shared histories. A retired doctor, for example, is forced to confront the horrific moral consequences of his wartime actions. An elderly woman subjects herself to an interview, gradually revealing a fifty-year old murder and its shattering aftermath. And in the last days of a doomed war, a prodigal son who enlisted against his parents' wishes survives the American invasion of his island outpost, only to be asked for a sacrifice more daunting than any he imagined.
Serizawa's characters walk the line between the devastating realities of war and the banal needs of everyday life as they struggle to reconcile their experiences with the changing world. A breathtaking meditation on suppressed histories and the relationship between history, memory, and storytelling, Inheritors stands in the company of Lisa Ko, Viet Thanhn Nguyen and Min Jin Lee.
About the Author
ASAKO SERIZAWA was born in Japan and grew up in Singapore, Jakarta, and Tokyo. A graduate of Tufts University, Brown University, and Emerson College, she has received two O. Henry Prizes, a Pushcart Prize, and a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers' Award. A recent fiction fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, she currently lives in Boston. Inheritors is her first book.
“These stories by Asako Serizawa are tremendous, intimate, startling and essential; they show us how the past is so often the most powerful force in what we idly call the present.”
—Rivka Galchen, author of Little Labors
“An extraordinary book—beautifully crafted, emotionally resonant and profoundly moving. Asako Serizawa imbues her characters with so much depth and generosity that I felt as if I were reading about people I already knew and loved. An intensely powerful book by a writer with endless talent.”
—Molly Antopol, author of The UnAmericans
"This splendid story collection is a sword through the heart. Asako Serizawa depicts with rare acuity and nuance several generations of one far-flung family as it's buffeted by the forces of war, migration, displacement, and that ultimate crucible, time. There are no easy answers or clean resolutions in Serizawa's stories, but what you will find is the genuine stuff of human experience, rendered with precision and honesty. Inheritors is debut fiction delivered with the verve of a master."
—Ben Fountain, author of Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk
“I was struck again and again not only by the remarkable scope and multiplicity of Inheritors but by the voices Serizawa inhabits—each is so distinct and yet wonderfully intimate. A book to be savored, slowly, overflowing with lifeblood and endurance.”
—Peter Orner, author of Maggie Brown & Others
"[A] dynamic debut...By showing Japan as both colonizer and colonized, Serizawa delivers an elegant, stimulating web of stories."
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Elegant…An assured debut.”