Little Boy

by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Poet, novelist, playwright, City Lights founder and publisher Ferlinghetti invokes Beckett, Joyce, Ginsberg and Proust in this ‘experimental novel’ published to coincide with his 100th birthday: a mix of autobiography, philosophy and poetry. Born into the greatest generation in Bronxville, New York and raised partly in France, ‘Little Boy’ witnesses the aftermath of the atomic bomb blast at Nagasaki. Later, as a PhD student in Montparnasse, he thinks he is “some sort of wild poet or artist”. He returns to the US to let loose “his word-hoard pent up within him”, helping usher in the Beat era. From a perspective decades later, “in this existential café on the left coast, he watches reality pass by with a ‘wild eye’.” This exuberant word storm, narrated in Ferlinghetti’s idiosyncratic “wide-open” style, captures invaluable “crystal moments in time”.


by Christian Kiefer

Sergeant Ray Kawasaki, who volunteered for World War Two from the Tule Lake internment camp, comes home to Placer County, California in 1945 to find he is no longer welcome. Nearly 40 years later John Frazier, a Vietnam vet, sets out to discover the end to Ray’s story, which overlaps his own family history. John is recruited as a driver by his aunt Evelyn Wilson, who wants to visit Ray’s mother Kimiko Takahashi in Oakland. The two women, once neighbours, hadn’t seen each other since Kimiko and her family were bussed away in 1942. Over several visits, John witnesses a sharing of secrets that breaks both families apart. Told in vivid lyrical prose, Kiefer’s novel reveals the sorrows and lingering guilt of wartime, and the dangers of forgetting.