Page 6 - Boca ViewPointe - November '22
P. 6

Page 6, Viewpointe                                                  November 2022
       Book Review

      East is East and West is West                                                                        She tends to present a favorable account of the men in
                                                                                                           her stories. One boyfriend is described as “gentle spirit
      Rebecca Miller. Total, Stories. New York: Farrar, Straus,                                            and good upbringing,” another as “a tranquil and noble
      and Giroux, 2022.                                                                                    soul.” What I mean is that Banana’s sense and substance
      Banana Yoshimoto. Dead-End Memories, Stories, trans. from                                            reflects a viewpoint based on the importance of tradition,
      the Japanese by Asa Yoneda. Berkeley, CA: Counterpoint, 2022.                                        and Confucian propriety, though her stories also project
                                                                                                           feminist goals and rebellion. She respects the elderly and
      By Dr. Ronald J. Meyers                                                                              the past and her stories mediate the reconciliation between
                                                                                                           the values of the past the exigencies of the present. Finally,
         The modern short                                                                                  Ms. Yoshimoto steps out of character and reveals herself
      story has the character of                                                                           as author in “Tomo-chan’s Happiness,” in which Tomo-
      meditation, a reflection                                                                             Chan’s unrequited love for Misawa-san similarly confirms
      on life, derived from the                                                                            the Buddhist view of enlightened acceptance and peace.
      author’s experiences and                                                                                Ms. Miller’s stories, on the other hand, are quite
      imagination,  but  often                                                                             diverse in a wide spectrum of venues from urban to rural,
      offers  confirmation  or  a                        19th century novels characteristic of the time. Poe also   a refurbished farmhouse on the Hudson to the night scene
      projection of an alternative                       introduced the subject matter of extreme fantasy wedded   in Dublin, and stop offs in Berlin, L.A., Paris, Kansas
      reality. It is the most recent                     to psychology and its greatest earlier practitioners like   City, and Martha’ Vineyard. Ms. Miller has a fine eye
      of literary forms, credited                        the Frenchman De Maupassant and Russian Chekhov   for detail, but to be honest, sometimes not bound by Ms.
      to Edgar Allan Poe who                             rendered it a popular commercial enterprise. In the   Yoshimoto’s same respect for tradition. Ms. Miller writes
      sought to create a reading experience which could be   twentieth century, James Joyce, who at one time had   from a radical feminist perspective. Her seven stories
      completed in one sitting, in contrast to the typical longish   flirted with becoming a priest, introduced a religious   render acute situations with sexual ambivalence looming
                                                         connotation of  epiphany, a revelation, alluding to the   large. Her most typical characters are writers suffering
                                                         presentation, showing forth of the infant Jesus.   from writer’s block and disillusioned and delusional
           Community Channel                               the Japanese author Banana Yoshimoto in  Dead-End   psychotic women like the writer in “I Want You to know,”
                                                           The American author Rebecca Miller in  Total and
                                                                                                           driven to insanity, the nanny in “Mrs. Covet,” driven by
              Have You Seen It?                          Memories have presented their meditations that reflect   loneliness to kidnap her charge, and other dissatisfied
                                                                                                           and unfulfilled women.
                                                         on the human condition typically from the female
            The Boca Pointe Community information        perspective. The meditation has to do with whether one      You will not find men of “gentle spirit and good
         channel is currently broadcast on Comcast channel   imagines meandering through life and relationships   upbringing,” or ones with “tranquil and noble souls.”
         63 and soon will be transitioning to channel 1075.   rather than navigating them. From Jane Austen and   There are few to any happy couples. The diverse men
         Please check both channels on your TV to see    onwards, women writers have focused their writing on   in “Vapors”, Hal, Elliot, Carlos, Larry, Joseph, Etienne
         which channel hosts our community information.   relationships. And so do Ms. Miller and Ms. Yoshimoto.   who have disappointed or failed Justine in one way or
         If you are unable to view either channel, please call   Both are accomplished authors of reputation with resumes   another; she a man eater and man hater, finds her comfort
         our office (561) 395-7551. Tune in for community   of novels and short story collections, and Ms. Miller a   in  attending to her son Frances. The  pharmaceutical
         updates,  BPCA/committee  meeting  dates  and   noted film director as well. They both render the hurdles   representative cheats on her husband Chad on their
         current events.                                that confront women, but differently which reflects   anniversary before they split, and she relishes the
                                                         their different eastern versus western sensibilities. One   freedom of covering her own “Receipts.” Ciaran Fox,
                                                         might connect Ms. Yoshimoto’s sensibility to Japan and   the Irish writer in “She Came to Me,” has a meaningless
                                                         Buddhist faith and Ms. Miller’s to anarchy, or search for   sexual encounter with a Cincinnati pet store employee
                                                         religious validation.                             on holiday.
                                                            In Ms. Yoshimoto’s “House of Ghosts,” Seecan and      In her title story, “Total,” a satire bordering on
                                                         Iwakura are brought together with their shared ambivalence   dystopia where the characters have assumed the shape of
                                                         about continuing to sustain their family businesses; both   and morphed into their phones; this is a familiar caricature
                                                         are involved in the restaurant trade, she with a restaurant   of Martians from the nineteen fifties who were depicted
                                                         and he with a bakery, and they help each other navigate   bearing  antennae. An  amusing  social  commentary
                                                         this emotional and psychological tortuous path. When   following the example of her father, the noted playwright
                                                         she moves to his dilapidated, condemned house, they are   Arthur Miller.
                                                         confronted by an elderly couple, ghosts who once lived in      NB I might recount a conversation that I enjoyed with
                                                         this home, who instruct them not with fear but comfort and   Arthur Miller some four decades ago while sitting in a
                                                         hope about the prospect of growing old together.  restaurant; both unaccompanied, I waiting for the start
                                                            In “Mama,” Matsuoka, an editor working with    of a play across the street. I initiated the conversation,
                                                         authors, encounters an unfortunate turn of events in her   “Might you be?” To which he, jocularly, “I might be.”
                                                         bureaucratic office environment. Eating lunch in the   “Might you mind if I join you?” I proffered hesitantly.
                                                         workers’ cafeteria, she is the victim of a disgruntled   Pointing to a vacant chair at his table, he said, “Sure.”
                                                         employee  who  has  poisoned  the  curry  dish  with  a   For the next thirty or so minutes, we had a lovely
                                                         concoction containing flu medicine which causes her   conversation about theater and other things. I remember
                                                         to be hospitalized. This experience allows her to reflect   that he was unsympathetic at the rage for auteur self-
                                                         on the positives and negatives in her life; her boyfriend   centered playwrights (and wanted to hear my point of
                                                         who comes to console her while she is recovering. Her   view) he being very much a social activist playwright.
                                                         unsteadiness after the experience causes her to drop and   But actually we mostly shared conversation about our
                                                         break expensive china in her client’s home. She recalls   daughters (no mention of our wives!). Though he was
                                                         her youth with her loving father and an unreliable mother   born as the same year as my mother, he was the father
                                                         who was unable to deal with raising her after the sudden   of a teenage daughter, same age as my Orna, of whom
                                                         demise of her father. But her grandparents stepped up   we were both proud dads; and he recounted with that she
                                                         and provided a warm home for her. The story is about   had just been to Israel, as my daughter. And so we talked
                                                         acknowledging the  role of fate in all of our lives and   about our shared connection through our then teen-age
                                                         moving on to enlightenment, or acceptance.        daughters, an epiphany that occurred to me when I was
                                                            Describing her patriarchal society, Ms. Yoshimoto   reading Ms. Miller’s work which renewed that delightful
                                                         through her heroines uncovers many ills associated with   and not so dead-end memory.
                                                         the abuses of that society. She writes of raped and jilted
                                                         women, unfaithful boyfriends and husbands, neglected      Dr. Ronald J. Meyers, a resident of La Paz, is an
           Dr. Lebrun Nestor     Dr. Siperstein-Paul
           Cornell University      Yale University       and abused children, but not solely in condemnation.   Emeritus Professor of English. 
          Dr. Mackay-Wiggan     Dr. Micciantuono-Meran
           Columbia University   On-site Mohs Surgeon
              Dr. Lipman             Dr. Gold                            IMPERIAL ROYALE AT BOCA POINTE
          NYU Medical Center    Albert Einstein Med Ctr                                      Over 3,000 sq. feet each with fabulOus views!
                                   Dr. Waintraub
              Dr. Mathew           Dr. Waintraub                                       at One Of the mOst prestigiOus buildings in bOca pOinte.
              Dr. Mathew
            Duke University       Cornell University
                                                                                    7351 prOmenade drive - imperial rOyale - 501 f Offered fOr sale!
           Dr. Anna Kurayev     Dr. Anu Parameswaran                                two units per floor! beautifully appointed! contemporary! designer renovated! a must see!
          Tufts Medical Center   NYU Medical Center
                                                                                          7235 prOmenade drive - imperial rOyale - sOld! 502 J
                                                                                      7235 prOmenade drive - imperial rOyale - clOsing nOv! 502 h -
                                                                                                        One unit per floor
                                                                                                     call for listing appt.!
                                                                                         Prudence J. (PJ) Carswell

                                                                                                  REALTOR EMERITUS
                                                                                                Licensed Real Estate Advisor. Licensed CAM  Direct: (954) 242-4260

                                                                  Resident Owner of La Mirada
                                                         and Boca Pointe Club Member
   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11