Chorus of Mushrooms

By Hiromi Goto

Chorus of Mushrooms
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Winner of the Commonwealth Writers’Prize for Best First Book (Caribbean and Canadian Region)!

Co-winnerof the Canada-Japan Book Award!

HiromiGoto’s debut novel has become a Canadian classic. It is a powerful narrative ofthree generations of Japanese Canadian women on the Canadianprairies. ... Read more


Overview

Winner of the Commonwealth Writers’Prize for Best First Book (Caribbean and Canadian Region)!

Co-winnerof the Canada-Japan Book Award!

HiromiGoto’s debut novel has become a Canadian classic. It is a powerful narrative ofthree generations of Japanese Canadian women on the Canadianprairies.

Funny, scandalous, and melancholic, thissuperlative narrative is filled with echoes and retellings, memories andJapanese folk tales. From The Tale of Genji to the CalgaryStampede, from sharing of recipes to hitchhiking the Trans-Canada highway, itweaves a story that slides between histories, countries, and desire. It is atimeless exploration of immigration and belonging.

Thistwentieth anniversary reprinting of the landmark novel includes an Afterword byLarissa Lai (When Fox is a Thousand, Salt Fish Girl) and aninterview with the author.

Hiromi Goto

Hiromi Goto is the award-winning author of many books for youth and adults. Her adult novel, Chorus of Mushrooms (1994) was the recipient of the regional Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best First Book as well as co-winner of the Canada-Japan Book Award. Her second adult novel, The Kappa Child, was awarded the James Tiptree Jr. Award. Hopeful Monsters was her first collection of short stories and in 2009, she co-wrote, with David Bateman, her first book of poetry, Wait Until Late Afternoon. More recently her YA novel, Half World, was winner of the 2010 Sunburst Award and the Carl Brandon Parallax Award and was longlisted for the IMPAC-Dublin Literary Award. Her latest YA publication is Darkest Light. Hiromi is also a mentor at Simon Fraser University's The Writer's Studio, an editor, and monther of two grown children. She is at work on graphic novels and short stories.

In honour of its 20th anniversary, NeWest Press released a special edition of her seminal Chorus of Mushrooms in Spring 2014.

Excerpt

We lie in bed, listen to the clickof blinds, watch a thin thread of dusty cobweb weave back and forth, back andforth, in the waves of air we cannot see. The blankets and sheet are a heap atthe foot of the bed, and we are warm only where skin is touching skin. Myshoulder, my arm, the swell of my hip. The curve of my thigh. Lean lightly intoyou. My fingertips are icy, but I am too comfortable to move. To bother gettingup and arrange the blankets. I only want to savour the quiet of skin on skin. The murmur of our blood beneath our surface touch. Our breathing unconsciouslyfalls into a pattern, follows the movement of the strand of cobweb that weavesabove our heads. You lift your hand to rest its weight, the palm rough, justbeneath my breast.

“Will you tell me astory?” you ask. Eyes on the strand ofdust.

“Yes. ”

“Willyou tell me a story about yourObachan?”

“Yes,” I close my eyes and breathedeeply. Slowly.

“Will you tell me a truestory?” you ask, with unconsciouslonging.

“A lot of people ask that. Haveyou ever noticed?” I roll onto my side. Prop my elbow and rest my chin, mycheek, into the curve of my hand. “It’s like people want to hear a story, andthen, after they’re done with it, they can stick the story back to where itcame from. You know?”

“Not really,” yousay, and slide a little lower, so that your head is nestled beneath my chin. Your face in my neck. “But will you still tellme?”

“Sure, but bear with my language,won’t you? My Japanese isn’t as good as my English, and you might not geteverything I say. But that doesn’t mean the story’s not there to understand. Wakatte kureru kashira? Can you listen before youhear?”

“Trust me,” yousay.

I pause. Take a deep breath, thenspiral into sound.

“Here’s a true story. ”

Mukashi,mukashi, omukashi …

Awards

  • Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best First Book (Caribbean and Canadian Region), Winner
  • Canada-Japan Book Award, Joint winner

Reviews

“Sucha love for words is evident in Chorus of Mushrooms, whichcontains passages of breathtaking beauty. ”
~ The Globe andMail

“Hiromi Goto expertly layers the experiences ofa Japanese immigrant woman, her emotionally estranged daughter and her belovedgranddaughter into a complex fabric and compelling story. ”
~ OttawaCitizen

“Notonly is Goto’s language precise and evocative, she has crafted a complex andpoetic text that weaves realities and mysteries into a subtlepattern. ”
~ Edmonton Journal

“HiromiGoto, a Japanese-Canadian writer, has written a masterpiece of our times … Thereadability of the text is attributable to the author’s craftsmanship, and onefeels like reading it over and over again. ”
~ TheHerald (Harare, Zimbabwe)

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