Retracing two generations





By Helene Honda (Pacific Grove, Calif.: Park Place Publications, 2012, 208 pp., $10, paperback)

Helene Honda studied the violin at Julliard School of Music in New York during World War II and went on to become a professional musician on the Las Vegas strip in the 1970s. Now retired, she took to the collection of typewritten anecdotes she had collected over the years about the lives of Japanese Americans and penned a fictionalized memoir.

The story follows Marissa Ohara and Charles Lyons, two young musicians who meet while playing on The Strip. Charles, a history buff, finds Marissa knows little about the incarceration of people of Japanese decent despite her parents’ incarceration at Topaz (Central Utah). The couple receive Marissa’s father’s memoirs, which brings to light his experience moving to camp and his service in the Military Intelligence Service.

A quarter of the book focuses on the young couple, while the rest is told through Marissa’s father. The prose is matter-of-fact and nothing fancy, but the voice is authentic through Honda’s own experiences along with supplemented research.

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