Books by David Mura

Released: May 17, 1996

More tediously self-absorbed reflections on the emotional torments of a lost-and-found soul from the author of Turning Japanese (1991). A third-generation Japanese-American (sansei) who remains vaguely discontented with his heritage, albeit endlessly fascinated by his place (or lack thereof) in contemporary US society, Mura (who turns 44 this year) offers a discontinuous memoir that draws on the lives of those close to him as well as his own experiences. The son of nisei parents who were interned during WW II, the author grew up in comfortable circumstances in suburban Chicago. After earning a degree from Grinnell, he went on to graduate school at the University of Minnesota. Mura eventually settled in the Twin Cities, married the woman with whom he had lived since college, and, with some success, pursued a writing career. By the author's account, however, getting from then to now has been a tortuous, tortured business. Along his wayward way, Mura abused drugs, was frequently unfaithful to his wife (a physician specializing in pediatric oncology), vocally challenged his go-getting father's desire to assimilate, and became addicted to pornography. In the name of an unsparing search for truth, he shares with readers the sordid details of one-night stands, his lust for hard-core smut, bouts of masturbation, constant doubts about his own sexual appeal (in particular, to non-Asian women), and other causes of postadolescent angst. At length, fatherhood and therapy jolted Mura into a state approaching adulthood. Even so, he has resolved to use poetry and prose ``to make central what is marginal, to re-create and reveal what others say should not be spoken of.'' Mura comes nowhere near his stated objective in the flights of fancy he has patched together, and the egocentric text is remarkable only for its modest shock value. Read full book review >