Edgy, catchy, and not easily categorized, local author Karen Tei Yamishita’s I Hotel is a dazzling book. Divided into ten novellas, one for each year, I Hotel begins in during the troubled year of 1968. Imagery, bold characters, and a sense of movement carry us forward through each novella until we arrive at the one setting that has seen it all: The International Hotel. Here the history, culture, and personalities of Yamishita’s cast of characters come crashing together, breathing and full of life. The fate of the hotel becomes a larger metaphor about America on the brink. Part graphic novel, part magical realism, part cultural warfare story, this novel is a showcase for a talent that is hard to describe. Read it, look at it, take it in.— SMC
Dazzling and ambitious, this multivoiced fusion of prose, playwriting, graphic art, and philosophy spins an epic tale of America's struggle for civil rights as it played out in San Francisco near the end of the 1960s. As Karen Tei Yamashita's motley cast of students, laborers, artists, revolutionaries, and provocateurs make their way through the history of the day, they become caught in a riptide of politics and passion, clashing ideologies, and personal turmoil.
The tenth anniversary edition of this National Book Award finalist brings the joys and struggles of the I Hotel to a whole new generation of readers, historians, and activists.