A Comment That Never

September 16th, 2007

This was written a week ago as a comment on this post but it kept getting reneged, rejected ‘n’ disrespected, so this is what was meant:

>The main female character in her book is mocked by her own voice as a character; she is not only flat from a literary standpoint, but is framed as unintelligent, greedy, & unattractively deceptive.<

To me, this is a huge problem, reading it as either reneged a fraudulent, racist depiction of a culture the author belongs to or from the perspective that the book in fact contains authenticity. I often get sucked into the stereotypical idea that much Asian American literature is based, if not entirely, then somewhat in autobiography. Lowe points out that this is a typical and dangerously tired form, since it is so prevalent among Asian American writers. It seems to me that Eaton has taken pains to try to get the readership to see her as Yuki, or at least in a strange fantasy way she wants us to believe that she can relate to this story. Wouldn’t it make it more appealing if racist America viewed this story as the success tale of an ignorant Japanese woman coming into her own through contact with the whites – and now that she is older, wiser, and more American, she has written it down for us. The whole romance is implausible and absurd to the highest degree, filled with unbelievable twists; if the reader can follow Eaton’s characters perhaps one can even fall for her invented self. Since her author-persona is entirely fabricated, the problems in Japanese Nightingale are many; it would be interesting to find out how people reacted to this upon release. I wouldn’t doubt that a few felt proud to “know” that this poor little author had dealt with the pains of her own other-ignorance before growing into the intelligent writer willing to express part of her troubles in her characters. Lies.