Through the Arc of the Rain Forest

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I’ve officially finished my final novel for my postcolonial literature class. Before I get into the book itself, I just want to say that I have loved this class. It has stretched me so far while also reassuring me in my abilities. My classmates all brought such interesting and diverse perspectives to our discussion and my professor was so good at her job. All of the books that I’ve had in this class will always have a soft spot in my heart for that reason alone.

Anyways, our final book, Through the Arc of the Rain Forest by Karen Tei Yamashita, was really interesting. It’s set up kind of like a soap opera–jumping back and forth between different story arcs that all eventually collide. The different arcs themselves focus on characters that seem to all live drastically different lives, from a New York corporate businessman with three arms to a Japanese immigrant living in Brazil who has a mysterious ball orbiting his head. (By the way, the ball narrates the story).  So yeah, there’s a bit of magical realism, which I happened to really enjoy in this particular novel. Through the Arc of the Rain Forest is also a comedy/satire, which just made it a pleasure to read.

Much of the action in the story is sparked by the discovery of the Montacao (I know there is some kind of accent on this word somewhere, but I don’t know where and don’t have the book on me to look it up). The Montacao becomes this spiritual place that many pilgrims begin visiting, a major interest to the scientific world as it’s structure is so unique, and a sought after commodity for the corporate world due to its unique properties.

Now, my class didn’t get to actually discuss it too much because we had some unexpected and problematic events take place on my campus last week that we actually ended up using class time to discuss instead of talking about the book (Which was good, because it was an important issue that needs to be talked about more often.) I do know there is a lot to be said about the environment, how people relate to each other, different views on life and what is important, and the role of humans in the world in this novel, I just don’t really know too much.

Though I don’t know much about what has been said in critical analyses of this novel, I did enjoy it and would readily recommend it for others to read.


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