In the spring of 1999, Mai Yoshimoto-Lanier falls into a coma after her husband loses control of the old Ford and drives over a bridge into the Belly River. Eddie dies. But Mai falls into the world of her great-grandmother on the island of Hamahiga somewhere between heaven and earth.
Odori is a novel that navigates through the glorious Ryukyuan Kingdom and the Golden Era of the Sho Dynasty, through bloody World War II Okinawa, and over parched prairies of Southern Alberta’s Rainmaker Hills — all the while exposing human sorrows, indignities, idiosyncrasies, failed faiths, splintered spirits, and an island culture so resilient, so embedded it becomes mythical. It tells of Mai’s journey into the world of an old kataribe storyteller, the ghost of her great-grandmother, where she hears of Tree Gods, Sky Gods and human lumps of clay – where her mother’s poignant war letters tell of sights and sounds that singe a child’s soul. In this dream world she has fallen into, Mai allows her basan’s tumble of words to fall gently on her ear as she creates painting after painting, sketch after sketch.
Darcy Tamayose has been a writer for Lethbridge Living Magazine for the past ten years. She is also a graphic designer for Adair Advertising and Global Television. She has attended the Alberta College of Art and the University of Lethbridge, as well as the Humber School for Writers. In 1992 she wrote and illustrated an art exhibit, Riding Back and the Sacred Circle, which travelled through the Alberta school system. Her book for young adults, Katie Be Quiet, was published in 2008. She lives in Lethbridge with her husband and daughter.
“When the worlds of language and art collide, a composition will not just speak to its audience, but will have the potential to touch the soul. Such is the work of Darcy Tamayose … Odori is an experience for the senses; her words offer inspiration to the reader’s imagination. The complexity of the tale she spins is deeply spiritual, personal, and relatable, weaving the history and culture of Japan with the life and struggles sustained in a Southern Alberta family. ”
“Tamayose’s prose brims with lyrical display … We’re offered fevid reminders of nature’s beauty every few pages … Odori is finally a war novel, its point to seek meaning amid chaos, to show the exquisite and eternal amid the blood and brutality and death. Yet where Tamayose truly excels, where her writing seizes you (well, me) in mind and heart, is where mortal truths insist on breaking through her gauzy curtain. ”
“[A] sprawling, poetic and ambitious debut novel. ”
“Has all the ingredients of a good book – suspense, drama, love, loss, the ties that bind, gifts handed down from one generation to the next and how they can be lost in war … The gift of the storyteller runs through Tamayose’s veins and I expect to see more works in the future. I look forward to reading them. ”
“Odori, Darcy Tamayose’s debut novel, brings to mind initial works by such celebrated Alberta authors as Thomas Wharton (Icefields), Peter Oliva (Drowning in Darkness) and Hiromi Goto (Chorus of Mushrooms) … Odori is an audacious, multi-layered debut … Nothing would may this long-time reader of Alberta fiction happier than to see Tamayose gain a vast readership. ”
“[A] sprawling, poetic and ambitious debut novel … Odori is fascinating … It’s clear Tamayose has a gift for creating a sense of place. ”