Gardens of Hope (book)
Creators: Michael Holloway Perronne
Book cover. Courtesy of Chances Press
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Novel about the short but life changing romance between a young white man and a Nisei man during World War II. The story begins in 2004, as the elderly Jack Henry asks his nephew to drive him to the Manzanar National Historic Site. On the way, he tells the nephew the story of his connection to the place. As the story begins in Los Angeles the fall of 1942, Jack seems to have everything: a loving family, a smart and attractive fiancée, and good prospects for a career as a teacher. However as a closeted gay man, he is confused and unhappy. Drawn to Pershing Park downtown, he has a series of furtive sexual encounters with other men before meeting Hiro, a handsome young Nisei. Their affair is immediately different and deeper than the others. When the outbreak of war separates them, Jack impulsively decides to become a teacher at Manzanar . While there, they connect again, though again circumstances separate them after a short period of time. Back in 2004, Jack's first return to Manzanar in sixty years brings memories of that time flooding back.
Author Michael Holloway Perronne was born and raised in the South, and is a writer of gay-themed novels. He learned of the Japanese American wartime story from a former co-worker who had been incarcerated as a young girl. Later, as a teacher working in California, he taught the book Farewell to Manzanar by James and Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston. Upon visiting the Manzanar National Historic Site, he decided to write a historical novel set there. He based the novel on many visits to the site, book research and interviews with former inmates. The title of the book refers to the inmate-built gardens at Manzanar that play a key role in the plot.