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Talking to High Monks in the Snow: An Asian-American Odyssey

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Winner of the 1991 PEN/Jerard Fund Award, Talking to High Monks in the Snow captures the passion and intensity of an Asian-American woman's search for cultural identity. Winner of the 1991 PEN/Jerard Fund Award, Talking to High Monks in the Snow captures the passion and intensity of an Asian-American woman's search for cultural identity.


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Winner of the 1991 PEN/Jerard Fund Award, Talking to High Monks in the Snow captures the passion and intensity of an Asian-American woman's search for cultural identity. Winner of the 1991 PEN/Jerard Fund Award, Talking to High Monks in the Snow captures the passion and intensity of an Asian-American woman's search for cultural identity.

30 review for Talking to High Monks in the Snow: An Asian-American Odyssey

  1. 4 out of 5

    Kristi

    B+

  2. 4 out of 5

    Dylan

    Poetic, sometimes dreamlike vignettes slowly resolve into a life, and expand beyond that to reach into my world. A cultural tour that finds an honest beauty at each stop without a hint of pretense or hyperbole. I'd be very curious to know how different such a tour would be today. Poetic, sometimes dreamlike vignettes slowly resolve into a life, and expand beyond that to reach into my world. A cultural tour that finds an honest beauty at each stop without a hint of pretense or hyperbole. I'd be very curious to know how different such a tour would be today.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Timothy Hallinan

    A beautiful and beautifully written book about an Americanized Japanese-American coming to terms with her Japanese heritage. Her father works a difficult job for years, and when he retires he finds he was paid the same amount as his assistant -- but he is grateful for the work and the opportunity to do a good job. Minatoya's mother is more mysterious, more classically "Japanese" in her habits and attitudes. It takes an Asian journey, including time spent in Japan, for Minatoya to internalize the A beautiful and beautifully written book about an Americanized Japanese-American coming to terms with her Japanese heritage. Her father works a difficult job for years, and when he retires he finds he was paid the same amount as his assistant -- but he is grateful for the work and the opportunity to do a good job. Minatoya's mother is more mysterious, more classically "Japanese" in her habits and attitudes. It takes an Asian journey, including time spent in Japan, for Minatoya to internalize the cultural conflicts she feels and find an identity that is comfortable for her. Sorry to be so dry. This book had me on the brink of tears several times.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Erika Stanley

    A moving story - cross cultural, cross generational - of Japanese immigrants in America and their Japanese American daughter traveling abroad. Offered insight and perspective otherwise unavailable to me as an American child of German/English descent. The non-linear, sometimes fragmented stories were potent vignettes, peering into moments of recognition, memory, ancestry, communication, belonging, culture and independence. Really enjoyed this and look forward to reading more of Ms. Minatoya's wor A moving story - cross cultural, cross generational - of Japanese immigrants in America and their Japanese American daughter traveling abroad. Offered insight and perspective otherwise unavailable to me as an American child of German/English descent. The non-linear, sometimes fragmented stories were potent vignettes, peering into moments of recognition, memory, ancestry, communication, belonging, culture and independence. Really enjoyed this and look forward to reading more of Ms. Minatoya's work.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    Lacking a background involving family feuds, I found it hard at first to take seriously how such a history stamped the life of the author as a young Japanese- American. But haunted she was. After teaching in Okinawa, living in Nepal, and coming to know both sides of her still-divided ancestral family in Japan, she reached her own place with more understanding of the persistence of family memory. The more credible for being so undramatized.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Debra

    Found this one at the library when I was looking. The book jacket states, the author, Lydia Minatoya adds a remarkabley distinctive voice and vision to the literature of the American experience...a facinating journey-rich in humor and insight-an evocative exploration of cultural identity by a woman caught between the traditions of her Japanese immigrant family and the values of her American world.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    I picked this book up at a used bookstore because the title sounded interesting and it was from a college freshmen English class. Nothing spectacular or earth-shattering. But it was interesting to read. From her recollections of her parents and grand-parents in the US interment camps during WWII to working in Japan and China to a month in Nepal it kept me wanting to read more, which is hard to do in this type of literary work.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Victor McGuire

    A wonderful story about a Asian American family odyssey. I used this book in the Multicultural Class I taught. this book is wonderfully engaging. "A poignant, sensitive, and often funny account of growing up bicultural in a land that's never quite sure what to do with its rich mix of race and color" Village Voice A wonderful story about a Asian American family odyssey. I used this book in the Multicultural Class I taught. this book is wonderfully engaging. "A poignant, sensitive, and often funny account of growing up bicultural in a land that's never quite sure what to do with its rich mix of race and color" Village Voice

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kimberly Horch

    Read this one in High School, but I thought it deserved a re-read because it's been so long. It's about the self discovery of a single, young adult woman... that includes no love story, which makes it kind-of awesome. Loaded with philosophy and lessons from other cultures, it took me on a unique journey to anthropological insights I simply couldn't have been privy to on my own. Read this one in High School, but I thought it deserved a re-read because it's been so long. It's about the self discovery of a single, young adult woman... that includes no love story, which makes it kind-of awesome. Loaded with philosophy and lessons from other cultures, it took me on a unique journey to anthropological insights I simply couldn't have been privy to on my own.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Mary Cronk

    I am still reading this book -- halfway through. I am so surprised how much I love this book as I never heard of it. Faith, from my book club has lent this to me as I expressed an interest to read books about Japan or Japanese Americans. This memoir is about both! And most importantly, it is written so well! I will finish this review when I complete the book.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Onn Jansen

    I didn't enjoy this book as much as I thought I would. It was difficult for me to keep interest because the author jumps all over the place in her storytelling. She has a wonderful vocabulary, and does lend a descriptive hand in depicting moments in time, but continuity suffers. The epilogue also seems disjointed with the rest of the book. I didn't enjoy this book as much as I thought I would. It was difficult for me to keep interest because the author jumps all over the place in her storytelling. She has a wonderful vocabulary, and does lend a descriptive hand in depicting moments in time, but continuity suffers. The epilogue also seems disjointed with the rest of the book.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie Pugh

    I usually read fiction but this one is a memoir; Lydia Minatoya writes about her experience growing up in between cultures and identities as an Asian American. I especially loved her accounts of visiting Japan--I found it very true to my own experiences there. It's not quite as exciting as reading a novel, but I was touched by her life experiences. Overall, I would recommend this book. I usually read fiction but this one is a memoir; Lydia Minatoya writes about her experience growing up in between cultures and identities as an Asian American. I especially loved her accounts of visiting Japan--I found it very true to my own experiences there. It's not quite as exciting as reading a novel, but I was touched by her life experiences. Overall, I would recommend this book.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jackie

    Read for Asian American Autobio sem. Minatoya keeps the reader at a distance, which isn't the most engaging technique for this type of memoir. Stilted writing, unimpressive ending, some touching moments but ultimately difficult to relate to the author. Read for Asian American Autobio sem. Minatoya keeps the reader at a distance, which isn't the most engaging technique for this type of memoir. Stilted writing, unimpressive ending, some touching moments but ultimately difficult to relate to the author.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Betty

    Born in America of Japanese parents, Lydia Minatoya never can avoid her "otherness ". Taking a teaching assignment in Japan, she learns to claim her multiple heritages. Along the way the reader sees Japan, China and Nepal through her perceptive eyes. Born in America of Japanese parents, Lydia Minatoya never can avoid her "otherness ". Taking a teaching assignment in Japan, she learns to claim her multiple heritages. Along the way the reader sees Japan, China and Nepal through her perceptive eyes.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Marie

    This book was beautifully written. I'd actually like to re-read it with a dictionary at hand. The author has a vast vocabulary. The way she wrote was often poetic at times, and I was really impressed with the way she was able to recall such details in this insightful memoir of hers. This book was beautifully written. I'd actually like to re-read it with a dictionary at hand. The author has a vast vocabulary. The way she wrote was often poetic at times, and I was really impressed with the way she was able to recall such details in this insightful memoir of hers.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

    I loved this book. The tone and style are incredible. It covers several facets of discovering cultural identity in the U.S. by a Japanese American woman. If you love artful and charismatic writing, then you'd love this. I loved this book. The tone and style are incredible. It covers several facets of discovering cultural identity in the U.S. by a Japanese American woman. If you love artful and charismatic writing, then you'd love this.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Charlane Brady

    Fascinating story! I admire her "bamboo heart" and I found her path inspiring. Fascinating story! I admire her "bamboo heart" and I found her path inspiring.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Charles M.

    An Asian American returns to her Asian homeland in this memoir; visiting japan, China and Nepal, recounting her experiences and contacts with significant people.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Brenna

    I don't know if it was the editing or the writing style but it seemed liked the flashbacks were all over the place, I couldn't figure out what was going on. I don't know if it was the editing or the writing style but it seemed liked the flashbacks were all over the place, I couldn't figure out what was going on.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Bonnie

    A lyrical journey through an Asian American's future as she reconnects with her family's past. Beautiful sparse language with plenty of human insight. A lyrical journey through an Asian American's future as she reconnects with her family's past. Beautiful sparse language with plenty of human insight.

  21. 4 out of 5

    M

    I have been to Japan three times and am into personal stories of Japanese people. I really like learning the small things about other cultures.

  22. 4 out of 5

    alisonwonderland (Alison)

    This was a gift from Sue.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    A lot of pearls in this. The language is beautiful and the her life lessons are relevant to anyone.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Brittany

    I had to read this for my English class freshman year of college. I don't remember a lot about it besides that I really liked it. I had to read this for my English class freshman year of college. I don't remember a lot about it besides that I really liked it.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Anne

    Subtitled "An Asian American Odyssey", I found this book interesting and well-written. Subtitled "An Asian American Odyssey", I found this book interesting and well-written.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Larrirosser

    I liked this. Very satisfying look at the world throgh the eyes of a Japanese-American woman.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Tori

    2010- A memoir of a woman learning about her Japanese family's past, while discovering herself as she travels throughout Asia. A surprisingly good read. 2010- A memoir of a woman learning about her Japanese family's past, while discovering herself as she travels throughout Asia. A surprisingly good read.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Chris Padfield

  29. 5 out of 5

    David Peters

  30. 5 out of 5

    Alisa

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