When you’re looking for a house, most real estate agents will tell you: it’s all about location, location, location. When you’re looking for a good story, I’ll tell you: it’s all about character, character, character. And when it comes to character, Suzanne Kamata is a pro.
In this collection she introduces us to the young woman obsessed with Egypt, the foreign wife who struggles with her Japanese mother-in-law, the doctor who has an airplane from WWII in front of his hospital for mentally ill (or tired) people and the gay, Hawaiian hula dance instructor who who struggles in a society that doesn’t yet embrace who he is.
Through her characters and their compelling stories (with twists!) Suzanne allows readers to immediately dig in and experience sacrifice, grief, reconciliation, disappointment and hope — in just a few, short pages.
From a writer-reader’s (is that a word?) perspective, what are some signs (in addition to the compelling characters and top-notch writing) that this collection is a keeper?
- It has staying power. I finished the book several months ago but still find myself thinking of someone to only later realize “that person” was one of the character’s in The Beautiful One Has Come.
- There’s an emotional response. While reading this book on my train commute, I was either chuckling out loud or wiping tears from my eyes. (If only I’d been in Japan where one always has a mini-pack of tissues on hand!)
- It’s a source of inspiration. Thanks to this fabulous collection of stories, I’ve realized it’s time for me to get back on the “short story wagon”. The last short story I wrote was Broken Mug, published by Literary Mama in 2008. (Special thanks to Suzanne and encouragement from Susan Ito!)
Simply put: I savored each of the stories in The Beautiful One Has Come and think you will, too. Some advice? Consider buying this as a holiday gift for your favorite reader…and that includes you!