A heartbreakingly beautiful and brutal collection of interconnected stories which explores the lives of five generations of a family fragmented by the Pacific side of World War II.
Spanning over 150 years, and set in multiple locations in colonial and post-colonial Asia and the United States, Inheritors paints a kaleidoscopic portrait of its characters as they grapple with legacies of loss and displacement, identity and erasure, imperialism and war.
In "Train to Harbin," winner of an O. Henry Award and praised by Molly Antopol as "epic in its exploration of history, war, loyalty, and trauma," a retired doctor is forced to confront the moral consequences of the experiments he pioneered in his youth. In "Willow Run," ambitiously told in the form of a one-sided interview, an elderly Japanese woman volunteers her testimony regarding a fifty-year-old crime, only to be dismissed by the interviewer as a lesser victim than the enslaved "comfort women" finally receiving international attention. The prodigal son of "The Last Bulwark of the Imperial Empire" survives the onslaught of American forces overtaking his Pacific outpost only to be asked for a sacrifice more dehumanizing than any he could have imagined.
These stories are designed to speak to one another, contesting assumptions and calling attention to the complicated ways in which we experience, interpret, and pass on our personal and shared histories. Serizawa's characters walk the line between the devastating realities of war and the banal needs of everyday life as they struggle to reconcile their place in the world, making Inheritors a breathtaking meditation on suppressed histories and the relationship between history, memory, and storytelling.
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