Sarah Bird's gutsy, sharp, and touching new novel opens at
Bernadette "Bernie" Root, military brat, speaks. She has
never really noticed what a peculiar bunch of nomads her
eight-member Air Force family is (with the exception of her
Post Princess sister, Kit), until the summer after her
first year of college when she joins them at their new
assignment: Kadena Air Base, Okinawa.
Just as Okinawa turns out to be a sorry version of the
Japanese paradise Bernie knew in her childhood at Yokota
Air Base, her family—especially her once-beautiful mother,
Moe, and her former spy-pilot father, Mace—seems to have
been in decline since those glory days of the American Raj.
Days when her mother was happy and their best friend,
Fumiko, now lost to them, was the family's maid. The worst
part of Okinawa for Bernie, though, is realizing how
perfectly she fits with her oddball family and how badly
she needs to get out.
So when a dance contest—first prize, a trip to Japan—offers
a chance to escape, she takes it, playing second banana to
a third-rate comedian on a tour of Japan's military bases.
At their grand finale at the Yokota Officers' Club, Fumiko
finally reappears, and Bernie discovers the terrible price
that is paid when the secrets nations hide end up buried
A brilliantly appealing novel whose energy, wit, and
feeling have won for it (see back of the jacket)
extraordinary advance praise: