Thursday, August 12, 2010

One Hero, No Cape

Appreciation (along with wisdom) came with age for Naomi Hirahara. She is the author of four mysteries about a Hiroshima-bomb surviving Japanese-American who solves mysteries in and around post-WWII Los Angeles. Not coincidentally, her father, American born but Japanese raised, was an unappreciated A-bomb survivor who toiled as a gardener in LaLa Land. As she told NPR:

"I'm basically making a character like my father a hero," Hirahara admits. "I think all the times I complained that my dad was a gardener and we couldn't afford this trip or that trip, I'm trying to make up for it by creating this heroic, iconic figure that's underestimated."
She didn't copy her dad,Sam, exactly for her fiction ... and not just in her protagonist's name, "Mas" (Sam backwards). But she did capture his essence as a good person, a someone (a father) who's sacrifice is often overlooked and, most notably as a hero. It isn't how she always saw him, but it is how he always has been.

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