Cynthia Kadohata | Critical Review by Barbara Quick

This literature criticism consists of approximately 1 page of analysis & critique of Cynthia Kadohata.
This section contains 277 words
(approx. 1 page at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Review by Barbara Quick

Critical Review by Barbara Quick

SOURCE: A review of In the Heart of the Valley of Love, in New York Times, August 30, 1992, Sec. 7, p. 14.

In the following review, Quick writes that the narrative of In the Heart of the Valley of Love is lacking in focus and is poorly constructed.

In her second novel, Cynthia Kadohata has tried something extremely difficult: to take a story of the disaffected 1990's and project it 60 years ahead in time. What makes futuristic fiction work is an accretion of telling detail so convincing that the reader suspends disbelief. Unfortunately, In the Heart of the Valley of Love has lots of detail but very little conviction. The setting is Los Angeles in 2052, but the author seems not to have exercised her imagination: this is the smog-filled and crime-ridden city of 1992, with just a few differences (water and gas rationing; odd, unexplained skin diseases). Apart from some specific biographical details, the book's narrator, a 19-year-old named Francie, bears a remarkable resemblance to the slightly younger Japanese-American narrator of Ms. Kadohata's first novel, The Floating World. Though supposedly generations apart, these two adolescents seem very much the same person: alienated, opaque and drawn to angst-filled speculation about the absurdity of existence. The plot concerns Francie's involvement with her college newspaper, the handful of other students who work there and the aunt and surrogate father who have raised her from the time she was 13. But the narrative lacks focus; it seems haphazardly constructed out of Francie's deadpan stream-of-consciousness observations, which read like a bad translation of Camus. The result is like listening to someone describe a long and pointless dream.

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This section contains 277 words
(approx. 1 page at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Review by Barbara Quick
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