The Missionary, The Violinist and the Aunt Whose Head was Squeezed by Keith HarrisonThe Missionary, The Violinist and the Aunt Whose Head was Squeezed by Keith Harrison

The Missionary, The Violinist and the Aunt Whose Head was Squeezed

byKeith Harrison

Paperback | April 15, 2010

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about

This narrative diary explores the gaps and myths of family history, identity, and expressiveness through the retracing of a many-generational voyage. In this new work, the focus is on his own family and its, at times, troubled and troubling history. The story-line of The Missionary, The Violinist And The Aunt Whose Head Was Squeezed follows a five month journey that he made into the past, with his wife JoAnn as a companion. His father, John, had been born in Tokyo, and studied at Melbourne Grammar School before coming to Vancouver. His father?s father, Ernest, from St Ives, a journalist turned missionary, married Ethel Mercer, described in Melbourne?s Age as ?Australia?s leading woman violinist?. Keith Harrison discovers himself in the inadvertent circle shape of their voyaging, especially in the published writings of his father and grandfather. Of particular interest are the articles from Japan by Ernest during World War I and those by John that just precede World War II, that give a depth of time and range of tone to this composite, many-voiced book, that catches ancestors shaped by love and war. Other documents found on this extended journey not only fill in the past but disrupt myths that had been transmitted down through the years. Key to this re-visioning of the past is the figure of Aunt Betty who suffered brain damage at birth. Ultimately and paradoxically, through an embedded work of fiction, she finds an imaginative rest. This remarkable and honest fusion of travel writing, family history, and cultural anthropology is also a quest for meaning, and an understated love story.
Born in Vancouver, Keith Harrison studied at UBC, Berkeley, and McGill writing a dissertation on Malcolm Lowry. Harrison has also written a group of stories, Crossing the Gulf (1998), which contains a piece that won the Okanagan Short Story Award, and he has edited an anthology of short fiction, Islands West: Stories from the Coast (20...
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Title:The Missionary, The Violinist and the Aunt Whose Head was SqueezedFormat:PaperbackDimensions:264 pages, 8.57 × 5.5 × 0.67 inPublished:April 15, 2010Publisher:Oolichan BooksLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0889822654

ISBN - 13:9780889822658

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Reviews

Rated 1 out of 5 by from Not worth reading I only got halfway through this book, to the part that takes place in Japan, before I tossed it aside. As a long-term resident of Tokyo, I have read countless numbers of books on this country and this one has nothing fresh to offer. The author's insights are superficial and his tone patronizing. Even worse, he has failed to do his homework properly. I can't speak for the remainder of the book but the part set in Japan is riddled with mistakes from calling the Narita Express leading from the airport to Tokyo the 'Shinkansen Bullet Train' to repeatedly referring to Ground Zero in Hiroshima as 'Mile Zero'. This book was 7 years in the making and there is no excuse why the author couldn't at least have gotten his facts right. All it would have required was a quick search of Google. The late British Japanophile and travel writer, Alan Booth, summed it up perfectly when he wrote of the observations of certain visitors to Japan who arrive with preconceived ideas: "More thorough nonsense must be spoken and written about Japan than about any other comparably developed nation".
Date published: 2011-02-28