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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, November 19, 2006

What I'm reading | Lois-Ann Yamanaka

Interviewed by Christine Thomas

Yamanaka

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WHAT ARE YOU READING?

You know, I started reading "The Life of Pi," but then I started reading "The Colony" only because it was getting all that negative press. I have this theory that when you see something three times, you act on it the fourth time. So the fourth time I saw an article on it, I went out and bought it.

WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT IT?

It's really kind of fascinating the research aspect of the book: the things he found out about who was there and who arrived, the names. I really understand the Hansen's patients' anger at the author for being misled. That's their story and I totally understand the kind of betrayal they must have felt. But I wrote historical fiction and understand how grueling the research can be.

YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT YOUR MOST RECENT NOVEL, "BEHOLD THE MANY"?

Yeah. That was historical fiction, and I think his is historical creative nonfiction. But it's not strictly a historical document. It was captivating. It kept me engaged.

DOES READING JOHN TAYMAN'S BOOK INSPIRE YOU TO WRITE MORE HISTORICAL FICTION OR EVEN BRANCH INTO HISTORICAL NONFICTION?

No. It's a really hard genre. Sometimes the research is more fascinating than the story you're telling. Your writing almost pales in comparison to the research or the place it becomes more interesting than your own retelling. I'm not really attached to any story right now. I keep myself busy with my writing school. I'm waiting for my muse.