Summer of the Big Bachi
In her debut mystery novel, Summer of the Big Bachi, Naomi Hirahara paints a unique and authentic depiction of the Japanese American community and one man’s struggle to survive his past with the secrets that continue to haunt him. The book is inspired by Hirahara’s own father’s life as a Hiroshima survivor and gardener in Los Angeles.
Summer of the Big Bachi opens as Los Angeles gardener Mas Arai’s life is falling apart—he has lost his wife, is estranged from his only daughter, and his livelihood in suburban Pasadena is in danger of extinction. Arai is convinced that bachi, the spirit of retribution, has come to make him pay for his past sins—secrets he has kept since he was a young man in 1945 Hiroshima.
When a Japanese businessman and a young reporter show up asking questions about an old gardener friend, Arai is forced to relive the horrific incident that he’s concealed for more than fifty years. Now, with too many people probing into his old life, Arai must decide if he’s willing to sacrifice what he has left to save another family’s future.
In Summer of the Big Bachi, Naomi Hirahara crafts not only a poignant and compelling mystery depicting the Japanese American post-World War II experience, but also paints a brilliant portrait of one man’s attempt to reconcile his past with his present, while maintaining loyalty to his family and community.
Paper: 352 pp.