A Room Where the Star-Spangled Banner Cannot Be Heard: A Novel in Three Parts

Kobo ebook | July 19, 2011

byHideo Levy, Christopher Scott

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A Room Where the Star-Spangled Banner Cannot Be Heard is the highly acclaimed, moving debut of Levy Hideo (also known as Ian Hideo Levy), a white American author living in Japan who writes fiction and nonfiction in Japanese. Set against the political and social upheavals of the 1960s, which include student protests against the Vietnam War and the U.S.-Japan Mutual Cooperation and Security Treaty (AMPO), the novel tells the story of Ben Isaac, a blond-haired, blue-eyed American youth living with his father at the American consulate in Yokohama. Chafing against his father's strict authority and the cultural trappings of an America that grows more and more remote, Ben flees his home to live with Ando, his Japanese friend. Refusing to speak English with Ben, Ando shows the young American the way to Shinjuku, the epicenter of Japan's countercultural movement and the closest Ben has every felt to home.

As Ben struggles to understand the full contours of his identity, Levy's coming-of-age novel offers an eloquent elegy to a lost time. From the vantage point of a privileged and alienated "outsider" (gaijin), A Room Where the Star-Spangled Banner Cannot Be Heard beautifully captures a heady, eventful moment in Japanese history. Ben's experiences virtually recreate Levy's own youth. Wandering the streets of Shinjuku, Ben can barely decipher the signs around him or make sense of the sounds that reach his ears. Eventually, the symbols and sensations take root, disproving the common assumption that foreigners can never really know Japanese language and culture. Through Ben's explorations, both he and the author break free from English and the constraints of being a "gaijin." Ben's character plays a leading role in each of the book parts: "A Room Where the Star-Spangled Banner Cannot Be Heard," "The End of November," and "One of the Guys."

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A Room Where the Star-Spangled Banner Cannot Be Heard is the highly acclaimed, moving debut of Levy Hideo (also known as Ian Hideo Levy), a white American author living in Japan who writes fiction and nonfiction in Japanese. Set against the political and social upheavals of the 1960s, which include student protests against the Vietnam ...

Levy Hideo is the pen name of Ian Hideo Levy. He is the first Westerner to become a novelist in Japanese. Born in 1950 to a Jewish father and a Polish mother, he spent his childhood in Taiwan and Hong Kong. He taught Japanese literature at Princeton and Stanford, and received a National Book Award for his translations from the ancient...

other books by Hideo Levy

Hitomaro and the Birth of Japanese Lyricism
Hitomaro and the Birth of Japanese Lyricism

Kobo ebook|Jul 1 2014

$30.29 online$39.30list price(save 22%)
Format:Kobo ebookPublished:July 19, 2011Publisher:Columbia University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0231527977

ISBN - 13:9780231527972

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though this was Levy's first novel, he already had a firm grasp of the novelist's art