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Extended Audio Sample Requiem, by Frances Itani Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (261 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Frances Itani Narrator: Brian Nishii Publisher: Brilliance Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Frances Itani, author of the internationally bestselling novel Deafening and an extraordinary researcher and scholar of detail, excels at weaving breathtaking fiction from true-life events. In Requiem she traces the lives, loves, and secrets in one Japanese Canadian family caught in the larger arc of history during the 1940s. After the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, the Canadian government uprooted Bin Okuma’s family and relatives from their homes on British Columbia’s west coast. Families were allowed to take only the possessions they could carry, and Bin, as a young boy, witnessed neighbors raiding his home before the transport boat even undocked.

Removed from the one-hundred-mile “Protected Zone,” Japanese Canadians were sent to internment camps where for five years they lived in hardship in hastily erected shacks in the mountainous interior. More than fifty years later, after his wife’s sudden death, Bin travels across Canada to find the biological father who has been lost to him. Both running from grief and driving straight toward it, Bin must ask himself whether he truly wants to find First Father, the man who made a fateful decision that almost destroyed his family all those years ago. With his wife’s persuasive voice in his head and the echo of their love in his heart, Bin embarks on an unforgettable journey into his past that will throw light on a dark time in history.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Remarkable…Understated…Requiem delicately probes the complex adjustments we make to live with our sorrows…In this perfectly modulated novel, we see the emotional cost of suppression.”

    Washington Post

  • “Itani writes with a delicate grasp of both the obvious and the unspoken, using ordinary words charged with extraordinary meaning to produce a serious book that nevertheless invites you to keep reading past midnight.”


  • “In Requiem, Frances Itani is at the height of her powers…The Japanese-Canadian story has never been told with such passion, insight, and telling detail…Itani has told this story in amazing, cinematic detail…[Requiem] is surely Itani’s greatest novel, although calling Requiem a novel does not do it justice. Requiem is a great work of literature from a determined author at the peak of her powers. It is also a sobering history lesson for all those Canadians who belittle other countries for their racism but are too smug and too blind to examine their own nation’s transgressions.”

    Ottawa Citizen

  • “With Requiem, Itani has written an important and moving novel…told with painful and quiet eloquence.”

    Washington Independent Book Review

  • “Itani is an accomplished stylist; her prose is lyrical yet clear, her pace unhurried…Itani’s empathy and understanding of human nature enliven her characters…In this finely written, reflective novel, Bin’s physical journey and mindful recollections lead him to a place where he can choose to either hold onto his anger or make peace with his ghosts.”

    Globe and Mail (Toronto)

  • “Beautifully rendered…Both tribute and a wail of grief…Lyrical and undulating, Requiem rages too.”


  • “An evocative and cinematic tale…Poignantly, the story’s determined brush strokes speak of quiet perseverance, underscoring the sense of loss, of talent suspended…With a precise, elegant style Itani avoids the maudlin, and delivers a taut novel.”


  • A 2012 Washington Post Notable Book for Fiction
  • One of the 2012 Globe and Mail (Toronto) Best Books for Fiction

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Chris | 2/11/2014

    " Best book 've read in a long time. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Lorie | 2/6/2014

    " This was a beautiful read almost poetic but still a strong storyline about the Japanese removal from the West coast during WW2. Would be good for a book club. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Christine | 1/31/2014

    " i really wanted to like this book. It has many of my favorite elements - family saga, WWII & aftermath, a dog! But I just wasn't in the mood for so much introspection and so little action/dialogue. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by William | 1/21/2014

    " Like the few readers who liked but didn't love the book, this one just never got off the ground for me. It is well written but the structure is too cliched. I didn't find Bin to be a sufficiently likable character to overlook what I see as the shortcomings of the book. Nowhere near as good as Deafening. "

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