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Summary

A powerful and passionate novel, Obasan tells, through the eyes of a child, the moving story of Japanese Canadians during the Second World War. 

Naomi is a sheltered and beloved five-year-old when Pearl Harbor changes her life. Separated from her mother, she watches bewildered as she and her family become enemy aliens, persecuted and despised in their own land. 

Surrounded by hardship and pain, Naomi is protected by the resolute endurance of her aunt Obasan and the silence of those around her. Only after Naomi grows up does she return to question the haunting silence.

©1981 Joy Kogawa (P)2019 Penguin Random House Canada

Critic reviews

“An internationally acclaimed, widely studied novel firmly entrenched in the Canadian literary canon.” (Kerri Sakamoto)

What listeners say about Obasan

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  • Heather Strahorn
  • 20-07-21

Very boring

I am going into 8th grade and I chose to read this book from the reading list. I decided to use this audiobook on a long road trip with my mom and it was not enjoyable at all. The author gives way too much description for what is useless to the plot. Such as describing things her uncle and aunt said (obasan) to her frequently. There were occasional parts that actually related to the plot about the war but it was mostly just random description, I struggled trying to finish this.