"[F]lawlessly transitions between the two storylines.... As the story progresses you'll find yourself itching to keep reading, just as anxious as Rita to uncover the truth of her mother's past."
Praise for After the Bloom:
"Shimotakahara joins a rank of garlanded Canadian authors who've offered their skill and kindness to casual readers: tough stuff packaged in solid fiction that edifies as it enthrals, emotion indelible and set deep in stories we might otherwise prefer to forget." National Post
"[A] compelling work of historical fiction that scrutinizes how the experience and conditions of
internment had a shattering cultural effect on Japanese Americans. Shimotakahara’s writing is personal and entrancing, unflinchingly shining a light on this difficult part of history."
Booklist starred review
"A compelling tale of hearts and minds caught in the tumult of history, memory and love, across generations. A sweeping page-turner." Kerri Sakamoto, author of Floating City
"A masterful and deeply moving tale of mothers and daughters, of hidden histories and repressed memories, of loss and of love, After the Bloom is a potent reminder of the legacy of the internment and the power of reclaiming the past." Lynne Kutsukake, author of The Translation of Love
"After the Bloom offers characters of exacting specificity, ones who destroy pat generalizations and reveal the particular people, families, and faces that were stereotyped, amassed, depersonalized, and sometimes destroyed by this oft-overlooked moment in history. Lily's disappearance opens the ruptures—literal and metaphorical—that occur as part of intergenerational trauma in a story that offers its own brutal, beautiful reparation." Foreword Reviews
"Awareness of this novel's topic is necessary for anyone living in today's world. After the Bloom presents an affecting inside view of what Japanese-Americans endured, both within the camps and afterward." Historical Novels Review
"Shimotakahara writes with refined sensitivity about the fragility of human nature, and how such vulnerability can transform into strength in the name of love." Ottawa Review of Books
"After the Bloom is deeply moving and enthralling with scenes that will remain with readers long after the ending. This book is just the beginning of a brilliant career for this captivating new voice."
Sonia Saikaley, author of A Samurai's Pink House
Advance Praise for Red Oblivion:
"Celeste and Jill Lau only begin to learn the truth about their father when they rush from Toronto to his hospital bedside in Hong Kong. Stubbornly silent about his early years in China, their Ba has been receiving threats that allude to a crime in his past, but still refuses to explain. Red Oblivion is one of the most masterful narratives I've ever read about a horrific chapter in China's history, told through an intricate, mesmerizing tale of family and identity. Leslie Shimotakahara's writing is both beautiful and bruising." Janie Chang, author of Dragon Springs Road
"Haunting and true to life, Red Oblivion will captivate readers. Shimotakahara skillfully weaves history and imagination to tell a story about a daughter's quest to unravel her father's complicated past so that others can understand its far-reaching influence on their present lives. A strong narrative voice draws us into a world of secrets, sacrifices, and betrayals, transporting readers from Canada to Hong Kong and Guangzhou, China -- only to find that the complex truths that bind friendships and families are often universal." Ann Y.K. Choi, author of Kay's Lucky Coin Variety
"Red Oblivion is a beautifully written, gripping mystery which captures the struggles between generations, times, and places. Shimotakahara skillfully illustrates the internal conflicts of daughters with modern Canadian sensibilities challenged by age-old Chinese familial expectations. Detailed renderings of today's Hong Kong provide a fascinating backdrop for this engrossing tale of the continuing legacy of the Cultural Revolution. A literary page-turner. Shimotakahara's best work to date." Julia Lin, author of Shadows of the Crimson Sun
Red Oblivion will be in stores in September 2019