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Hiroshima in the Morning

3.16 of 5 stars 3.16  ·  rating details  ·  236 ratings  ·  49 reviews
"A brave, compassionate, and heart-wrenching memoir of one woman's quest to redeem the past while learning to live fully in the present."--Kate Moses, author of "Cakewalk, A Memoir" and "Wintering: A Novel of Sylvia Plath"

In June 2001 Rahna Reiko Rizzuto went to Hiroshima in search of a deeper understanding of her war-torn heritage. She planned to spend six months there, i
ebook, 320 pages
Published September 14th 2010 by Feminist Press (first published August 27th 2010)
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In this book, the author parallels the (her) tragedy of being held to/not wanting to be held to the responsibilities of marriage and parenthood to the bombing of Hiroshima and throws in 9/11 as the crux of this decision.

To be more clear: the backdrop is interviewing survivors of Hiroshima- the book is about a woman who goes there to write a book about them but ends up writing about herself interviewing these people while slowly detaching from her family.

How do you judge a book? This book is well
I just finished reading a beautifully written book that I received as part of a blog book review tour from Feminist Press. Did you know that some younger women do not like to be called feminists? What is up with that? But I digress.

Hiroshima in the Morning – a video from the author. Hiroshima in the Morning (click on the title for the video which is really well-done – I spent way too much time trying to get the Youtube video box to embed. I quit – just click on it.)

Rahna Reiko Rizzuto is the aut
Beth Gordon
I wanted to like this book. I read about the book online and was so intrigued by the author's struggle with her own identity vs. being a mother. Should a woman's duty as a mother supersede her own desires for a career? How can you balance both? The premise of the book as well as learning more about the horror of Hiroshima really did make me want to cuddle up with this book and soak it up.

I despised this book. It was almost as if she was a philosophy major in college and talked in the abstract a
While this book had some good information, I did not enjoy reading it. I found it self-indulgent and self-involved to a degree that I do not understand. Also, I thought it was a bit overdramatic except for the testimony from survivors, which was the only part of the book I thought worthwhile. We all have personal crises but, frankly, most are not worthy of publication. Nearly everyone was separated from loved ones on 9/11, even if only by a few feet or a few miles. My son was on a business trip ...more
This book had so much potential to be a truly fantastic commentary on so many issues, the atomic bomb in Hiroshima, the survivor's stories, being a mother and wife when it is not what you envisioned for yourself... However, the writing was particularly abstract and did not have a good flow. I often felt I was wandering with the author's thoughts, wanting more of an idea she mentioned in passing and never fully developed. In addition, the America bashing was not appreciated. This author lives in ...more
I found this to be a compelling memoir of the author's time in Japan on a research grant, a time during which she came to terms with her identity as a writer, wife, and mother. She chooses to be a writer foremost in the end and gets divorced after the grant is over.

This is a thoughtful memoir that explores issues related to how we choose to be our authentic selves. This book puts emphasis on gender issues specially within marriage. There is a raw truthtelling element here. Many women experience
Really liked this one. Also, sidenote, really recalled Japan to me. And since going to the Peace Museum in Hiroshima was a life altering experience for me, I really appreciated that aspect of the book.
This book primarily details the author traveling to Japan to interview survivors of the atomic bomb. Shortly after getting there, 9/11 happened and the survivors opened up by describe their agonizing experiences. Rizzuto also talks about her personal life and how she is feels isolated from her husband, Brian (who is in the U.S.), and her children. She doesn't want to be held to the responsibilities of marriage and parenthood.

Although there are good interviews, Rizzuto spends too much time talki
Oct 05, 2011 Amy rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Amy by: Bobbie
Shelves: ladies-book-club
Not as bad as Eat, Pray, Love, but pretty close. Too bad the real story of the Hirsoshima surviors got lost in this lady's identity crisis.
Ron Wooten-green
Much is written about Rahna Reiko Rizzuto’s book "Hiroshima in the Morning" detailing its thrust and theme, but even more regarding praise, ridicule, and legitimate criticism of both book and author. What follows here is more of a review of the reviews, a criticism of the criticism, than a review of the book; however, there will be some of the latter.
A common criticism has much more to do with the author than the book, namely that she is a bad mother, a bad wife for “abandoning” her children. N
This book is a graceful, lyric, original exploration of memory, identity, and self-discovery. I picked it up after seeing an interview with the author on "The View," in which they focussed very heavily on the elements of ambivalent motherhood, which is what piqued my interest. But the book is much, much more than that. Make no mistake -- this is the author's memoir, and the stories of Hiroshima (and 9/11 to a lesser extent) serve a supporting role here. Readers with very narrow expectations of t ...more
Lara Dunning
Hiroshima in the Morning interweaves the memories and history of the bombing of Hiroshima, along with Reiko’s personal journey to rediscovery. Her journey starts in New York as a mother of two leaving her family for the first time alone. She will be gone for six months to research and interview Hiroshima victims in Japan. What comes out of her time there is not only a chronicle of the bombing and the effect on the victims, but also questions how memory plays a huge role in self-definition.

At fi
Chris Beal
I took a long time reading this because I ended up reading a couple of other books in between -- one because I was obliged to review it and another just because I was enjoying it. This one took awhile to grow on me, but in the end, I really did appreciate what the author was doing and that she had the courage not to wrap everything up in a neat package in the end. Rizzuto goes to Japan to do research for a novel (which I think never got written, although I haven't checked) about victims of the b ...more
In June 2001 Rizzuto traveled to Hiroshima in search of a deeper understanding of her war-torn heritage. She planned to spend six months there, interviewing the few remaining survivors of the atomic bomb. A mother of two young boys, she was encouraged to go by her husband, who quickly became disenchanted by her absence, and understandably so as it seems that Rizzuto barely misses her two very young children and husband. There are parallel narratives that explore the role of memory in our lives a ...more
Erin Shull
This book is very honest and utterly fascinating. It explores the role of a woman as a daughter, mother and a wife, versus her need for fulfillment in her career and passion and whether those roles can co-exist. It explores the human condition in times of war, specifically Japanese "hibakusha" or victims of the Hiroshima bombing. Reiko leaves her 3 and 5 year old sons with her husband to pursue a writing fellowship in Hiroshima in the summer of 2001. Shortly after her arrival, 911 happens while ...more
This almost seemed like two different books. One was the author's journey to Japan to learn more about the A-Bomb survivors as well as the Japanese-American internees who returned to Japan. In many ways they were rejected by two nations. Added to this was the overlap of 9/11 while she was in the midst of her conversations. This aspect of the book would easily be 4 stars. It's a part of U.S. history that doesn't get nearly the attention it should and the questions of war, peace, memory, and ident ...more
Jan 12, 2011 Madeleine rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Madeleine by: Elliott Bay Books (second only to City Lights in my heart)
This book is all over the place, by design. I read the whole thing and I still cannot tell you whether or not this “works.” Guess that must mean that it does, at least on some level. It worked enough to unsettle me, anyway, and to keep me reading, and to make me want to read Rizzuto's novel.

Rizutto went to Japan in 2001 to research her second novel, which was going to be about an atomic bomb survivor in Hiroshima. Everything fell apart--there is no novel--and what there is instead is this story
From the description, I expected this book to be more about Hiroshima survivors and how the events of 9-11 brought their own tragedy into sharper focus. Really, this book is all about the author Reiko and her experiences in Japan, interviewing these survivors while her husband and two small boys are left in New York missing her and (understandably, in my view) resenting that she doesn't miss them.

The words of the survivors are edited down to brief paragraphs that are the most moving parts of the
This book is not what it is billed as. Disappointment is not a strong enough word to describe the reading experience. This is a book full of repetitious questions that serve the author's need to figure out her issues, her identity, her lack of personal courage. The Setting of Japan is only a window dressing. 9/11 is only a touch stone to sell her book. I found myself wondering why the book read like a student paper submission that needed editing, direction and focus.

Wendy Cosin
A memoir about memory, war & peace, family and identity. The author, a 37 y.o. Japanese-American writer visits Japan to interview atomic bomb survivors as research for a novel. During the 7-month visit, she struggles with the loss of her mother to dementia and her identity as a wife and mother, while also describing the impacts of the bomb, peace activists, and cultural complexities of her interactions in Japan pre- and post-9/11. Well-written, but probably best read in spurts to be less jar ...more
Being a true story, I'm not going to rate it.

However, I will say a few words. Reiko-san's journey was fascinating and interesting to read about. The stories told from the survivors of Hiroshima were heartbreaking and yet I couldn't stop reading them.

As for Reiko-san's own story.... I found her inward thoughts on her mother to be touching and revealing. However, her selfishness astounded me. To want so much and appreciate so much of her own mother, yet to leave her own children and husband for
Gayla Bassham
I did not like this book, partly because I thought it was self-consciously arty but also because I could not stop judging the author for leaving her children. I don't think that is a fair way to evaluate a book, but I could not get past it. Gloria Steinem would be very disappointed in me (although I don't think a father should voluntarily leave a three-year-old and a five-year-old for six months either).

I was disappointed because I thought the book would be more about Hiroshima than about the au
The buzz and controversy has nothing to do with the actual content of the memoir, so I spent the beginning being a bit confused.

The book is a lovely, poetic meditation on identity and how culture and surrounding people influence it. There is a minimal plotline about how she struggles to get people to talk to her at the beginning, her attempts to reconcile herself to family history, her slow integration into the Japanese culture, and her struggle to balance family and work at the end.

Reading th
A sad memoir that reads more like a personal journal hung out for public display. One can't help but feel compassionate for the author...her personal life a shamble and her struggles with her role as a mother and her journey to find herself. I found the style of writing a bit hard to follow...somewhat fragmented and does not transition well from paragraph to paragraph or even chapter to chapter. The stories from the survivors of Hiroshima are sad and horrific. I felt that the story of Hiroshima ...more
Hmmm -- the best thing I can say about this book is that it had potential. I did not enjoy reading this book. I felt like the author was very self-centered to an extent that I cannot understand. The only part of the book that I found worthwhile was the testimony from the survivors of Hiroshima -- if the author had focused on that instead of her own conflicting emotions about being a wife and mother, I would have enjoyed the book more. Plus, I just cannot respect someone who chooses to have child ...more
This is a typical book for me to read; it's just not my taste. I read this because it was required reading for a college English class that I was taking.
I'll admit, I was really hating on this book when I got to the part where she left her children. I understand, that you can feel stuck and unhappy in your life. It's one thing to leave a husband, but your children? That's just wrong.
The book was considerably better after 9/11, which is horrible to say, but the book really picked up then; much mo
I am not really even sure what this book was about. She was writing a book about writing a book. And along the way, she interviewed some people about Hiroshima and decided to abandon her family.

I find the author to be very self-centered and hypocritical. When talking about war she emphasizes how she hates destruction. Yet she is destroying her family and their lives back in NY.

I have to say that the ending was better than I expected (which wasn't much), but it certainly didn't make up for the re
The writing is beautiful - almost dream-like. I had a hard time switching gears between her research on the Japanese-Americans, then her personal insights about her own Mom, then thoughts about her husband and kids back home. Once I found myself connecting with a particular story about her research - the book jerked me back to her internal struggle. I also found myself sympathizing a lot with her husband and kids. I am sure this is why I did not love this book. It is very interesting and I liked ...more
Mary Cawthon
This book would have been exceptional if the author was a better writer. Now, that sounds ridiculous and like it could be said for practically any book. However, I felt like there was something very impressive that the author almost understood, that she almost expressed, but that it was just beyond her reach. She touched on it but was unable to really explore it. Unfortunately, when she falls short she often sounds petulant. Her voice can come off as blindly overconfident.
I may not be able to finish this. 80 pages in and all she does is complain about her husband and kids in New York. Her writing about the city the book is actually named for seems to be an after thought. She also spends a lot of time talking about her other book and the writing process for that as well as this one. Just as a glimmer of story evolves she veers off track. I am very disinterested in this. Maybe I will try it again another time but for now...back on the shelf.
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Do women write a different kind of memoir than men do? 1 1 Aug 27, 2013 03:42PM  
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Rahna Reiko Rizzuto is the author of the novel, Why She Left Us, which won an American Book Award in 2000. She is also a recipient of the U.S./Japan Creative Artist Fellowship, funded by the National Endowment for the Arts. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, including the L.A. Times and Salon. She was Associate Editor of The NuyorAsian Anthology: Asian American Writings About New York ...more
More about Rahna Reiko Rizzuto...
Why She Left Us

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