Karen Tei Yamashita is the author of Through the Arc of the Rainforest, Brazil-Maru, Tropic of Orange, Circle K Cycles, and I Hotel, a 2010 National Book Award finalist in the fiction category.
From her interview by Bret Anthony Johnston:
Bret Anthony Johnston: Congratulations on I Hotel being named a Finalist for the National Book Award in fiction. This is your fifth book. How did the writing of this novel compare to the work you’d done previously?--Marshal Zeringue
Karen Tei Yamashita: Thank you. I’m very honored.
I think the work of the previous books made the I Hotel possible; that is to say that I learned while writing how to research, to create form, structure, and narrative voice, and to follow a writing practice intuitive to my own process. The research for Brazil-Maru, based on the history of Japanese immigration to Brazil, was similarly extensive, and I employed practices of interviewing learned from those years. In writing Tropic of Orange, I continued to experiment with voice and narrative perspectives. While researching Circle K Cycles in Japan, I became more confident about moving within a community as recorder and participant while building a contemporary archive. The archival research for I Hotel, however, was far more extensive than in the previous projects. I spent endless hours reviewing old underground newspapers, flyers, graphic art, literature, audio speeches, documentary radio and video, books, and music of the time.
BAJ: In the fiction category this year, each of the novels seems heavily researched. What role does research play in your writing process?
KTY: I began researching because...[read on]