I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.
A young Asian American family must learn to survive and endure in the wake of the prejudices found in the United States after the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1940s America in author Shirley Miller Kamada’s “No Quiet Water”.
After the U.S. declares war on Japan in 1941, all persons of Japanese descent in the Western U.S. come under suspicion. Curfews are imposed, bank accounts frozen, and FBI agents search homes randomly.
Despite the fact that two generations of the Miyota family are American citizens, Fumio and his parents and sister Kimiko must pack meager belongings and are transported under military escort to the California desert to be held at Camp Manzanar, leaving their good friends and neighbors the Whitlocks to care for their farm and their dog, Flyer.
The family suffer unimaginable insults, witness prejudice and violent protests, are forced to live in squalor, and are provided only poor-quality, unfamiliar food which makes them ill. Later, they are transferred to Idaho’s Camp Minidoka, where Fumio learns what it means to endure and where he discovers a strange new world of possibility and belonging.
Lyrical, visual, and rendered with strict attention to historical accuracy, No Quiet Water, shines a poignant light on current issues of racism and radical perspectives.
This was such a unique and special read. The author does an incredible job of crafting a narrative for readers that feels accessible on a large scale to a multitude of readers while also diving deeply into the heart of the narrative and the themes that they explore, which feel personal and painfully intimate to the characters involved. The themes took on a serious tone as the author delved into some serious subject matter, including themes of racism and mistrust in the wake of tragedies, and the way fear and doubt warp people’s perception of others, something that is happening even now in our own modern times, which made this story feel tragically more relatable than ever before.
The heart of this narrative was the rich character development and the multi-POVs that the story takes on. The heartbreaking and enduring story of Fumio and his family create that emotional relatability between the reader and the narrative that a historical fiction of this magnitude has while also creating a unique perspective through the eyes of the family dog who is forced to be left behind on the family farm in the care of neighbors gave this story the YA and middle-grade genre twist that will make the narrative accessible to a broader audience.
Captivating, emotionally driven, and memorable, author Shirley Miller Kamada’s “No Quiet Water” is a must-read historical fiction Japanese and United States historical fiction read. The heart and passion for which the author wrote, as well as the important themes that touched upon some of our society’s most vital issues that need to be addressed, showcased how we need to learn from our past and the power that resides within us all as we discover who we are in moments of great tragedy and crisis. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!
About the Author
Shirley Miller Kamada grew up on a farm in northeastern Colorado. She has been an educator in Oregon, Idaho, and Washington, a bookstore-espresso café owner in Centralia, Washington, and director of a learning center in Olympia, Washington. When not writing, she enjoys casting a fly rod, particularly from the dock at her home on Moses Lake in Central Washington, which she shares with her husband and two spoiled pups.