Book review | Displacement by Kiku Hughes


Author: Kiku Hughes

No. of pages: 288

Genre: Graphic novel, Historical fiction

Published on: 4th August 2020

Published by: First Second Books

Format: eBook

My rating: ★★★★☆

Kiku is on vacation in San Francisco when suddenly she finds herself displaced to the 1940s Japanese-American internment camp that her late grandmother, Ernestina, was forcibly relocated to during World War II.

These displacements keep occurring until Kiku finds herself "stuck" back in time. Living alongside her young grandmother and other Japanese-American citizens in internment camps, Kiku gets the education she never received in history class. She witnesses the lives of Japanese-Americans who were denied their civil liberties and suffered greatly, but managed to cultivate community and commit acts of resistance in order to survive.

Kiku Hughes weaves a riveting, bittersweet tale that highlights the intergenerational impact and power of memory.

Kiku Hughes' Displacement is a part fiction - part bsed on real life, graphic novel. In Displacement, Kiku Hughes spins her grandmother's struggles in the Japanese internment camps, in a form of time-travelling fantasy fiction. Kiku finds herself back in time in the 1940s when her mother takes her to San Francisco to visit her grandmother's childhood house. After finding herself temporarily displaced to the past a couple of times, she gets permanently stuck in the past. As she follows her young Grandmother to the internment camps, she starts experiencing all the struggles that her grandmother faced as a young girl. Kiku has to go through all the ordeals that the Japanese-Americans were put into, after the Pearl Harbour attack. Kiku, who never knew about her grandmother's past and the tough life her ancestors and the whole Japanese-American community went through, has to learn all about it through her displacement experience.

Kiku Hughes, has excellently portrayed the segregation laws that still exists in the United States. I loved her art style, that has subtlety of nostalgia, as her character goes back in time. I also liked the idea of 'holding on to memories' and how she portrayed it in the book (that you'll find out once you read the book yourself). Through this book, you'll get to know a great deal about the first generation Japanese-Americans (Issei) and the second generation Japanese-Americans (Nisei) had their differences in their patriotism for the American land. This book can be read as a partially educational read, since it covers Kiku's idea of how her grandmother and their family was treated. I finished this in a day, and it did teach me a lot. I highly recommend this one.

Kiku Hughes is a cartoonist and illustrator based in the Seattle area. Her work has been featured in Beyond Anthology volumes 1 and 2, Short Box #6 and the Alloy Anthology. She creates stories about identity, queer romance and compassionate sci-fi. Displacement is her first graphic novel, and it is a story she's wanted to share for as long as she can remember.

I received a copy of the book in exchange of an honest and unbiased review. 


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