Chronicles of My Life

An American in the Heart of Japan

Donald Keene,

Chronicles of My Life: An American in the Heart of Japan
 
 
“Few memoirs have the concision, modesty, and charm that mark this late-life work by . . . America’s most renowned scholar and interpreter of Japan.”—Foreword Reviews
 
In this eloquent and wholly absorbing memoir, the renowned scholar Donald Keene shares more than half a century of his extraordinary adventures as a student of Japan. Keene begins with an account of his bittersweet childhood in New York; then he describes his initial encounters with Asia and Europe and the way in which World War II complicated that experience. He captures the sights, scents, and sounds of Japan as they first enveloped him, and talks of the unique travels and well-known intellectuals who later shaped the contours of his academic career.

Keene traces the movement of his passions with delicacy and subtlety, deftly weaving his love for Japan into a larger narrative about identity and home and the circumstances that led a Westerner to find solace in a country on the opposite side of the world. Chronicles of My Life is not only a fascinating tale of two cultures colliding, but also a thrilling account of the emotions and experiences that connect us all, regardless of our individual origins.
 
“Lovingly illustrated by the artist Akira Yamaguchi, the book limns a life inseparably linked to its dominant passion . . . The history is fascinating, and the literary life Keene has doggedly carved out of it, remarkable.”—Time, Asia Edition

“Keene’s book soars, largely because of his intriguing, highly personal account of the literary milieu of Japan, particularly its drama, whether on stage or screen . . . [An] engaging and eloquent memoir.”—Times Literary Supplement


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