Julie Shigekuni is the author of Unending Nora (Red Hen Press 2008), Invisible Gardens (St. Martin’s Press 2003), and A Bridge between Us (Anchor/Doubleday 1995), which was a finalist for the Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers Award and recipient of the PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Award for Excellence in Literature. She grew up in Southern California, fled high school for the University of California at Santa Cruz, and subsequently lived in Tokyo and London. She received her BA from CUNY Hunter College and her MFA from Sarah Lawrence College. She is currently at work on a novella and short story collection and a sixty-minute video documentary, Manju Mammas and the An-Pan Brigade, for which she has received funding from the California Council for the Humanities and the Skirball Foundation and sponsorship from Visual Communications, an all-Asian media network. She is director of the creative writing program and development director of Asian American Studies at the University of New Mexico.
Publication Date: October 15, 2008
Unending Nora is a love story, though not in the ordinary sense. Having retreated to the streets of the east San Fernando Valley amidst an intense heat wave, Nora Yano, who has lived the first 29 years of her life as a devout Christian and an outcast, strikes up a relationship with a stranger and experiences sexual intimacy for the first time.
When Nora mysteriously disappears, her best and only friends Caroline and Melissa, each with their own lives to consider, must decide what they’re willing to risk to find her. The complications that ensue, along with an unexpected arrival home, set this novel in motion. Beneath the stories of four compelling women, Shigekuni creates a web of ideas concerning the after effects of wartime internment. Fresh out of the camps, a displaced and emotionally scarred generation clustered together to form a community; they even took on a religion in order to adapt to the society that oppressed them. Now their offspring, four young women coming of age in their thirties, must carve their own path.
Unending Nora is a story about finding love through adversity. In an ambitious examination of faith, shame, and desire, Julie Shigekuni takes up where John Okada left off over fifty years ago with his masterpiece No-No Boy—to tell the story of a community ready to mark its place in the larger world.