What I’m Reading | Lois Ann Yamanaka
Poet and Author

Interviewed by Christine Thomas
Honolulu Advertiser: 11/19/06

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 Hansens 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 But it’s not strictly a historical document.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 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.

– Christine Thomas