“Two Nails, One Love,” a novel by Alden M. Hayashi, has been published by Black Rose Writing.
The story opens in New York City with the narrator — Ethan Taniguchi, a Japanese American gay man in his early forties — awaiting the arrival of his mother from Hawaii. The two have been estranged for more than a decade, and the reunion is fraught with past grievances bubbling to the surface.
After a fateful ferry ride to the Statue of Liberty, Ethan’s mother reluctantly reveals details of her shattered childhood — her family’s imprisonment in a concentration camp in Arkansas in World War II, followed by a deportation to Japan, where she witnesses the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.
Ethan’s past is also revealed — painful memories of a forsaken career in music and a delayed coming out at the height of the AIDS epidemic.
Eventually, both mother and son come to understand the complex and subtle ways that their lives are intertwined, with the past reverberating powerfully through the present.
“Like many Sansei, I was an adult before I really came to understand the enormity of what my mother and her family endured during World War II,” Hayashi said. “Not only was she shipped from Honolulu to a concentration camp in Arkansas, she was then essentially deported to Japan in a civilian exchange during the height of the war even though she was, by birth, a U.S. citizen.
“I’ve long known that I needed to write about these terrible events but it’s been difficult because my mother rarely ever talked about her painful past. So finally I decided to write a novel that describes the intergenerational trauma that can be inadvertently passed down from Nisei parents to their Sansei children, all because of those painful secrets.”
Hayashi has been an editor and writer at Scientific American, Harvard Business Review, and MIT Sloan Management Review. After more than 30 years covering science, technology, and business, he has recently delved into writing fiction. “Two Nails, One Love” is his first novel.
For more information, visit www.aldenmhayashi.com.