The Electrical Field
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The Electrical Field

2.91 of 5 stars 2.91  ·  rating details  ·  162 ratings  ·  14 reviews
When the beautiful Chisako and her lover are found murdered in a park, members of the small Ontario community must finally acknowledge certain inescapable truths. Set in the 1970s, The Electrical Field reaches deep into the past to explore the dire legacy of the internment of Japanese-Canadians during the war.
Paperback, 320 pages
Published November 17th 1998 by Vintage Canada (first published 1998)
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Amanda Bolderston
This book was on my radar for a while - it won the 1999 Commonwealth Writer's prize for best first book - and it has an awesomely cool cover. Are you sensing a "but"....? I did find it hard to read - the story deals with a middle-aged Canadian-Japanese woman in a rural Ontario setting who cares for her elderly bedridden father and chicken-sexing brother (it's his job, not a fetish). She is stuck - in the past (the Canadian WW2 camps where people of Japanese origin were incarcerated and, in many...more
This book may well be impossible for me to review.

Really, I'm sitting here stuck.

It's not a bad book, though I didn't really like it (as though my preferences are indicative of objective quality—and what would even be objective quality in art or literature? But that's a whole 'nother topic.)


The Electrical Field is the story of Asako Saito, a second-generation Japanese woman apparently living in Canada, according to the catalogue data, who lived in one of the internment camps during WWII....more
I expected something similar to Joy Kogawa's Obasan and was sorely disappointed. The story is loosely arranged around the alleged murder of a Japanese man's wife and her lover in a Toronto area park, but actually uses the murder as a foil to dig into the psyche of the murdered woman's neighbour Asako, whose family experienced the incarceration of Japanese-Canadians in WWII. Unfortunately, characterization was thin at best, and the first person approach failed miserably. I got so tired of living...more
I thought Sakamoto was very clever in her crafting of the story and her weaving together of the parallels in the lives of 2 women of 2 different generations. It's the first book I have ever read with so much detail as to body functions, odours, sensations and visuals and I can't say I liked that much. The electrical field is an interesting device to hold everything together, but not used enough, I felt. As for the sexing of chicks part at the end, I am not sure why that is there, except to show...more
Mostly I just wanted this book to be over. It was far too slow for me. It seemed as if the author took a tragic event and tried to add some drama to it that just did not exist. When the story starts, we already know what happened and who did it. Within a few pages we also know what the main characters issues are. Since these are never resolved in any way, there is really no conflict in the story. Without conflict or resolution, or let's face it a single likeable character, what exactly was the p...more
Courtney Ali
OK. It is a good story but the narration is weird. I found the beginning so confusing I almost quit reading the book. As the story progressed I adjusted to the style of the narrator and was able to sort out who was who (kind of confusing since I have no familiarity with Japanese names.). Very emotional book but since it is classified as a 'thriller' it was somewhat underwhelming.
Johanna Lauer
I read it for a class on Asian-Canadian fiction. But in this book, the Japanese-Canadian internment during and after WWII is hardly relevant IMO. It's about a murder in the community, narrated by the Canadian-born, middle-aged and rather confused Asako Saito, whose drifting thoughts drive you crazy. I didn't really get the point of this book, though it is kind of suspenseful.
Difficult to get into at first, no real likable characters but worth the read. Dances around Japanese internment camps, with more of an emphasis on how the experience affected people, not the actual events. There are vivid images that still come to mind when I think about this novel.
Another one I would give 3 1/2 stars.
Daniel Kukwa
It contains very sharp, delicate prose...but the story is so full of trapped, embittered, cynical, passive-aggressive characters that it becomes a novel that is VERY difficult to like or enjoy. One of my strangest reading experiences of the last few years.
Apr 23, 2008 Andrea added it
Impressive. Perhaps a little too self-conscious, but then it's a topic that requires a little introspection. I'm looking forward to writing a twenty page paper on it. Should be good times.
Jul 11, 2011 Lisa added it
Definitely a strange read. The middle-aged spinster protagonist lets herself get dragged around by the whims of a pre-teen child. Begs the question: who's the adult here?
Post WW2 story about Japenese who were post interment. It is a mixture of a murder, loneliness, and personal demons.
4 out of 10. I'm not exactly sure what happened in this book, and not in a good way either.
Bharat ravirala
hmmm socked his life in this novel
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