After the U.S. declares war on Japan in 1941, all persons of Japanese descent in the Western U.S. come under suspicion. Curfews are imposed, bank accounts frozen, and FBI agents search homes randomly.
Despite the fact that two generations of the Miyota family are American citizens, Fumio and his parents and sister Kimiko must pack meager belongings and are transported under military escort to the California desert to be held at Camp Manzanar, leaving their good friends and neighbors the Whitlocks to care for their farm and their dog, Flyer.
The family suffer unimaginable insults, witness prejudice and violent protests, are forced to live in squalor, and are provided only poor-quality, unfamiliar food which makes them ill. Later, they are transferred to Idaho’s Camp Minidoka, where Fumio learns what it means to endure and where he discovers a strange new world of possibility and belonging.
Lyrical, visual, and rendered with strict attention to historical accuracy, No Quiet Water, shines a poignant light on current issues of racism and radical perspectives.
The attack on Pearl Harbor sent all of the United States into turmoil. All citizens of Asian heritage were considered probable enemies. The Chinese were allies during the war and therefore exempt from this prejudice. The Japanese, however, even those who were born here and were second or third-generation American citizens were suspect. So begins the saga of the internment camps for those of Japanese heritage.
The story begins on Bainbridge Island outside of Seattle, Washington. Young Fumio and his best friend Zachary helped on his father’s strawberry fields supplying fresh strawberries for the west coast market. The family could not believe that their relatives in Japan could have been complicit in the attack on Pearl Harbor. However, the US Government and Congress were suspicious of all Asian peoples in the country and all were suspected of being spies.
Fumio and his family are transported to Camp Manzanar to be interned during the duration of the war. Even those families whose sons volunteered to join the armed forces were not spared this indignity. Fumio’s dog Flyer is left on the island with his friend Zachary. Camp Manzanar in the Owens Valley in California. Letters between the two friends have to suffice regarding the condition of Flyer.
The Miyota family is transferred from California to Camp Minidoka near Rupert, Idaho. Minidoka was a town that sprung up during the building of the transcontinental railroad and had burned to the ground more than once. The railroad terminal was a perfect place to offload displaced Japanese American citizens for the duration of the war. The camp was in the middle of the Snake River Plain and there was a lack of trees or greenery. The family made the best of this awful situation.
Shirley Miller Kamada writes a very engaging story about the plight of Japanese Americans during the second world war. The story is sympathetic to the internees and their children. Young Fumio and the families make the best of a very difficult situation. The high desert is not very hospitable and the camps are thrown together with green lumber and tar paper. The ever-present desert wind blows fine volcano grit over everything.
As a child, I remember the site of the former internment camps and the animosity felt towards the internees. Later in life, I had the opportunity to work with a number of those families in farming and they have been some of the nicest people I ever met. Thank you, Shirley, and I hope everyone enjoys your story as I did. 4.5 stars – CE Williams
Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with the opportunity to read and review this book. Currently on pre-order.
Rosepoint Publishing: Four point Five Stars
Genre: Historical Japanese Fiction, US Historical Fiction, Coming of Age Fiction
Publisher: Black Rose Writing
Print Length: 356 pages
Publication Date: January 5, 2023
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: No Quiet Water [Amazon]
Barnes & Noble
The Author: Shirley Miller Kamada grew up on a farm in northeastern Colorado. She has been an educator in Oregon, Idaho, and Washington, a bookstore-espresso café owner in Centralia, Washington, and director of a learning center in Olympia, Washington. When not writing, she enjoys casting a fly rod, particularly from the dock at her home on Moses Lake in Central Washington, which she shares with her husband and two spoiled pups.
©2022 CE Williams – V Williams