Told entirely from the point of view of Yosinori Yamaguchi, a Japanese honors student who excels in his study of English during the nineteen thirties and who is totally devoted to American film, the novel rollicks through Japanese-American history with an ironically detached account of one man’s struggle to adhere to the philosophy of yoin ma do, which the narrator quickly translates into his pidgin Japanese-hipster English to mean. ..Go with do flow,”‘ meaning, as the story unfolds, to take life’s ironies as they come.
Gordon Weaver is the author of four novels, ten story collections, and a collection of poetry and has published over a hundred stories in numerous major literary journals. His novels include The Eight Corners of the World (1988), Circling Byzantium (1980), Give Him a Stone (1975), and Count a Lonely Cadence (1968), filmed as Cadence starring Martin and Charlie Sheen in 1991. Weaver’s short fiction collections include The Entombed Man of Thule (1972), Such Waltzing Was Not Easy (1975), Getting Serious (1980), Morality Play (1985), A World Quite Round (1986), The Way We Know in Dreams (1995), Four Decades: New & Selected Stories (1997), Long Odds (2000), and Last Stands (2004).
Founding Editor of the Mississippi Review, editor of Cimarron Review for many years, Weaver was General Editor of the Twayne Studies in Short Fiction, a series of over sixty book length critical studies in short fiction. He taught at, inter alia, the University of Southern Mississippi, Oklahoma State University for many years as a full professor, Vermont College of Fine Arts, and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Among other awards, Weaver received first place in the O. Henry Award, inclusion in the Best American Short Stories, two national Endowment of the Arts Fellowships, two Pushcart Prizes, and a 2002 James C. McCormick Fellowship in Fiction.
The Eight Corners of the World confirms Gordon Weaver’s reputation as one our most daring and original storytellers. It’s a terrific novel—funny, challenging, exuberant, and joyful in its celebration of the American language. In an age of skinny stories with skinny plots and skinny prose, Weaver offers the lushness and fullness of the human experience as people live it. The novel has life on its bones.
—Tim O’Brien, author of Going After Cacciato
The Eight Corners of the World is a courageous, scabrous, wildly imaginative tour de force, a one-man show so hot with life each page seems a candidate for spontaneous combustion. I haven’t read a novel as flamboyant, funny, and idiosyncratic since Pynchon’s Crying Lot Forty-Nine or Mailer’s Why Are We in Vietnam?
—Ron Hansen, author of The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
Eight Corners of the World achieved underground cult status from the day it was published, and it gives me great pleasure to see it winning new readers now. Make no mistake–this is one of the best novels on World War Two ever written. Its remarkable language makes it a masterpiece in our long tradition of “voice” novels; its irony is sharper than Vonnegut’s; its scope, its feel for great events, is that of a great historian’s. This is a masterwork written by a writer at the height of his powers, and I never go a year without reading it again.
—W.D. Wetherell, author of the novel A Century of November and the forthcoming Where Wars Go to Die; the Forgotten Literature of World War One
With The Eight Corners of the World, Gordon Weaver has created an inventive, original novel of great power, a comic masterpiece that—like all great comedy—will break your heart. A reinterpretation of 20th century America told in the pidgin English of a WWII Japanese-American double-agent hustler-spy, baseball enthusiast, martial arts film producer named Yamaguchi, who lives through the series of devastations and resurrections of recent history. The Hiroshima scene alone, astonishing and unforgettable in its simplicity, is worth the price of the book. Weaver is among the great fiction writers of our time.
Thomas E. Kennedy, author of The Copenhagen Quartet; winner of the 2008 National Magazine Award (www.CopenhagenQuartet.com)