Meeting Luciano: A Novel

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Algonquin Books, 1999 - Fiction - 243 pages
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To Hanako Shimoda, recently divorced, Luciano Pavarotti is a god. To her daughter, Emily, this fixation on Pavarotti is a harmless fantasy, the byproduct of loneliness. Meeting Luciano is the story of what happens when Hanako acts on her fantasy and invites opera star Pavarotti to dinner in their Westchester County home.

Emily, with no real career plan, has gone back after college to work at her old summer job - waiting tables at the local Japanese steakhouse. Even worse than wearing a fake kimono and obi is that she's living at home with her mother. At first, her mom seems pretty much her old self - still reliving her Japanese childhood; still affecting the airs of a European sophisticate; still brewing espresso, cooking Italian, and singing arias from Rigoletto while she cleans; still idolizing Luciano Pavarotti.

But when Hanako hires Alex, a handsome Greek, to renovate the kitchen, Emily begins to worry. And when Alex, who seems to be getting very cozy with her mother, spills the secret that the renovation is in preparation for a visit from Pavarotti, Emily is thrown into a wonderfully familiar quandary: how to deal with a parent who might be losing it.

First-time novelist Anna Esaki-Smith has a wry, understated approach to the themes of assimilation, growing up, striking out on shaky ground, finding yourself - and loving your mother. Like a reflecting pool in a Japanese garden, Meeting Luciano gradually reveals the beauty of its subtle design.

 

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MEETING LUCIANO

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

A debut novel describing the coming-of-age of a young Japanese-American woman who must deal with her aging mother's withdrawal into a private world of her own fantasies. "There are two kinds of ... Read full review

Meeting Luciano: A Novel

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Esaki-Smith's first novel is the delightful, humorous story of Emily, a recent college graduate who has returned home to live with her divorced mother, Hanako. Besides continuing her obsession for ... Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

ONE
1
TWO
37
THREE
66
FOUR
102
FIVE
125
SIX
145
SEVEN
179
EIGHT
212
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About the author (1999)

Anna Esaki-Smith was born in 1961 in Tarrytown, New York. She earned a bachelor's degree in Asian Studies from Cornell University in 1983 and a master's degree from the Columbia University School of Journalism in 1987. In 1991, she began work toward an MFA from the Columbia University Graduate School of the Arts, but left just short of a degree to work as a Newsweek correspondent in Hong Kong. Esaki-Smith's career as a journalist and writer for Reuters, Newsweek, and Success has taken her all over the world, including several posts throughout Asia, where she has worked as a news correspondent. She currently lives in Shanghai with her husband and two sons.

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