I can say without any equivocation that I Hotel is an amazing literary accomplishment and one of the most pleasurable reading experiences I have ever had. I believe I Hotel stands on the same plane of accomplishment as Roberto Bolaño's The Savage Detectives and Edward P. Jones' The Known World. --Recommended by Paul, City Lights Books
"Yamashita is so tuned into now, she can see tomorrow."—Booklist
"With humor and bite, [Yamashita] takes on waste, greed, stupidity, love, environmental and cultural apocalypse and the problems of migration and belonging—achieving a kind of cross between Kobo Abe, Gabriel García Márquez and Upton Sinclair."—Star Tribune (Minneapolis)
Dazzling and ambitious, this hip, multi-voiced fusion of prose, playwriting, graphic art, and philosophy spins an epic tale of America's struggle for civil rights as it played out in San Francisco's Chinatown. Divided into ten novellas, one for each year, I Hotel begins in 1968, when Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy were assassinated, students took to the streets, the Vietnam War raged, and cities burned.
As Karen Yamashita's motley cast of students, laborers, artists, revolutionaries, and provocateurs make their way through the history of the day, they become caught in a riptide of politics and passion, clashing ideologies and personal turmoil. And by the time the survivors unite to save the International Hotel—epicenter of the Yellow Power Movement—their stories have come to define the very heart of the American experience.
Heralded as a "big talent" by the Los Angeles Times and praised by Newsday for "[wrestling] with profound philosophical and social issues" while delivering an “immensely entertaining story,” Karen Yamashita is the recipient of an American Book Award and the Janet Heidinger Kafka Award. A California native who has also lived in Brazil and Japan, she teaches at the University of California-Santa Cruz, where she received the Chancellor's Award for Diversity in 2009.