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Part memoir, part Japanese American family chronicle, part luminous work of natural history, Volcano tells what happened when Hongo returned to his birthplace in Hawai’i, as a young man, to reclaim its dreamlike landscape and his own elusive past. A magnificant evocation of heritage and place.
“My favorite kind of book is a poet’s first prose work. The poet comes upon a story so large—his life, nature, history—hat he must break out of careful verse into the freedom of prose. William Carlos Williams, Rainer Maria Rilke, Sylvia Plath, Raymond Carver, Louise Erdrich—and now Garrett Hongo.” —Maxine Hong Kingston
“When I finished this brave and sharp story I wanted to start again because of the honesty in the author’s voice and the many gifts—beautiful language, vivid and apt anecdotes, a novelist's narrative instinct—that await the reader. Garrett Hongo elucidates here a Dragon; he reveals intelligence as love. And he magics time.” —Barry Lopez
“Eloquent. . . . Hongo has created a memoir as beautiful and enduring as the volcano itself.” —San Francisco Chronicle
“Passionate, wrought, often inspired. . . . Hongo’s book of origins is a work of beauty and consoloation.” —Los Angeles Times Book Review
“Garrett Hongo’s Volcano is a memoir of his homecoming to a place that was never home, a natural and human history of extraordinary visual acuity.” —The New Yorker
“Rich, varied. . . . Hongo takes his cue from the volcano itself, the flow that folds in on themselves, creating new forms by building on the old.” —Chicago Tribune