A Bridge Between Us: A NovelBy Julie Shigekuni
- Author: Julie Shigekuni
- Publisher: Anchor
Four generations of Japanese-American women make their home in a large house in San Francisco, united by the obligations of family and tradition and, perhaps, by love. In alternating chapters, Reiko, Rio, Tomoe and Nomi Hito speak with unflinching honesty about the secrets that have separated mother from daughter - and the fierce ties of intimacy that form an inextricable bridge between them. Matriarch Reiko Hito's forbidding, imperious manner masks the gentle, life-sustaining memories she cherishes of her loving immigrant father and the magical stories he told her about the mother she never knew. Rio, Reiko's daughter, briefly finds the love denied her by her mother in the unlikely setting of a relocation camp during World War II. When her hope for happiness is destroyed by a deception she will understand only years later, Rio retreats into a convenient, passionless marriage. Tomoe, joining the Hito family as a young bride, faithfully honors the Japanese custom of caring for her husband's grandmother Reiko and his parents, Rio and Tadashi; even when she becomes an independent, working woman, she remains enmeshed in the demands, spoken and unspoken, of the older generations and of Nomi, her own daughter. Nomi, eager to escape both the reality and fantasies suffocating her family, journeys alone to Japan. Only upon her return from this visit to the home of her ancestors can she finally face the secrets that bind her family together.