"I Hotel" is the third novella of I Hotel, a National Book Award finalist and epic of America’s struggle for civil rights as it played out in San Francisco’s Chinatown. Yamashita’s cast of students, laborers, artists, revolutionaries, and provocateurs make their way through the history of the day, caught in riptides of politics and passion, clashing ideologies and personal turmoil.
In Yamashita's latest, she strings together a stunningly complete vision of San Francisco's Asian American community in the late 1960s and early '70s, using the titular inn as a meeting point for ten loosely-connected novellas, each covering a single year. Focusing on the struggle for equality and peace as it involved this particular community, Yamashita's work also incorporates a broad view of the Asian and Asian American experiences, from Japanese internment camps to the Marcos dictatorship. Yamashita accomplishes a dynamic feat of mimesis by throwing together achingly personal stories of lovers, old men, and orphaned children; able synopses of historical events and social upheaval; and public figures like Lenin and Malcolm X (Yamashita's opening line: "So I'm Water Cronkite, dig?"). Despite its experimental and fictionalized nature, the novel reads more like a patchwork oral history, determined to relate the facts of its setting and, more importantly, the feelings of it; with varied commingling of voices and formats (stream-of-consciousness, slangy first person, quotes, dossiers, academic papers, even written-out choreography), the narrative reads like a collection of primary sources. Though it isn't for everyone, this powerful, deeply felt, and impeccably researched fiction is irresistibly evocative and overwhelming in every sense. 30 b&w photos and illus.
This is so frustrating, but I need to read the book for an assignment. The iBooks store only offers chopped up versions of this book, not the whole thing -_-. So I wasted four dollars on this book, and I had to blow through 20 bucks on Amazon because the iBooks store fibbed -_-