Midnight in Broad Daylight: A Japanese American Family Caught Between Two Worlds by Pamela Rotner Sakamoto [in Library Journal]
“Nothing seemed amiss that first Sunday in December 1945.” In California, 21-year-old Harry questions why his white employer is sending him home. His comment that he had nothing to do with Japan’s bombing of Pearl Harbor gets him promptly fired.
In Hiroshima, 4,000 miles away, 17-year-old Katsutoshi, also called Frank, boards a train to school, mulling over something he overheard about “our victorious assault on Hawaii.”
What follows is the U.S. entry into World War II, which then culminates with the atomic decimation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki; within that context, historian Sakamoto follows the disparate experiences of the Fukuhara family, as she reveals Harry and Frank to be two U.S.-born brothers divided by war. As meticulous as Sakamoto has been with research, her greater feat is her storytelling prowess.
Emily Woo Zeller is a serviceable narrator here; her interpretation tends toward overly measured, with the undeniable drama dampened by a too-languid pace. Disappointing narration aside, Midnight proves to be a resounding literary success that profoundly personalizes the devastating human cost of war. This work would enhance all historical collections.