Ryka Aoki’s novel ‘Light from Uncommon Stars’ shines upon a diverse San Gabriel Valley – Press Telegram

In Rika Aoki’s novel “Light from a Rare Star,” the essential instrument of the plot is the actual instrument. The violin appears in the story as part of a tort bargain, a source of competition, and a tool for empowerment.

Set in the San Gabriel Valley, the speculative fiction work “Light From Uncommon Stars” combines elements of folklore and science fiction as three women work to balance tradition and modernity. I am. Life; Music genius Shizuka Satomi turned to a teacher with a decency. Ran Trang, the owner of a donut shop and the captain of a spacecraft.

Aoki, who grew up in Rosemead, said he was attracted to writing about the area in his book. Explain the differences and diversity of the neighborhood from Monterey Park to San Marino and stop at real-world landmarks such as Lapuente’s Donut Hall, Arcadia’s Santa Anita Plaza, San Gabriel River Freeway, also known as the 605 Freeway.

“Because we are so widespread, places like the San Gabriel Valley can develop and create these highly dynamic and, in a sense, self-sufficient communities that reflect the people there. “She says. “I wanted to convey some of that perspective to the reader.”

She pays homage to local events such as the Camellia Festival in Temple City and more than 75 years of history. Aoki points out how the consistency and details of local events change, but they last for years after they start.

“I think we’re hungry for a sense of tradition, no matter where we come from,” says the author, who is now based in Hollywood.

Aoki has a deep understanding of the violin and is surprised to find out that she is actually a pianist. She studied the violin as part of her “Light From Uncommon Stars” study, and her enthusiasm for musical instruments is contagious in both books and recent telephone interviews.

“Violin, it does everything the piano can’t do. It can vibrato. It can be a glissando,” she says. “It can do all sorts of interesting things.”

Aoki visited a violin shop, learned how to make musical instruments, and incorporated the scent of varnish in the workshop. However, the biggest influence on the novel was that he was actually playing an instrument. For months she left the piano and focused on the violin.

“I think such research had to be acquired by learning to play the violin,” she says. “I had to get my coldness.”

During his research, Aoki had a deep moment of self-discovery that would eventually help shape one of the themes of the novel. Transgender Aoki explains that he uses the upper vocal register when speaking.

“Going into the bass makes me feel a little uncomfortable. It doesn’t sound like the voice I want,” she says.

As she played the violin, she noticed that the instrument also acted as a voice. “The violin is so delicate, but nuanced and so powerful that I could play it, sing it, or actually give it up and sing,” she explains.

It was a moving discovery for Aoki. “I don’t think it was the quality of my performance. I don’t think I’m there yet,” she said of the revelation. “I think it was freedom, possibilities, and ideas that finally made me feel like I was in my head. I felt it was right,” she explains. “So I wanted to convey that to one of my characters, Katrina, because I knew what it would be like to monitor my voice 24/7. Because it ’s really rough. ”

When the characters came back to life on the “Light from a Rare Star” page, Aoki relied on the insights he had learned at Santa Monica College.

“I teach students all kinds of background stories, all kinds of different abilities, all kinds of different strengths and weaknesses. Some of them have been hurt by other professors and their high schools. Some love English. Somehow I have to turn it into a cohesive class and let everyone learn something, “she says. “What I sometimes try to do is just listen. In the end, the class tells me what it is. It has helped me for years.”

Ultimately, the experience led to a book full of richly developed characters from a variety of backgrounds that exist in a world that is fantastic and deeply rooted in real-life places and times.

“I would be happy if you read my book, but what I wanted to allow in this book was to make you a paradoxical, multifaceted self,” says her reader Aoki. increase. “Maybe it will help them see a little more of themselves in my work.”

Ryka Aoki’s novel ‘Light from Uncommon Stars’ shines upon a diverse San Gabriel Valley – Press Telegram Source link Ryka Aoki’s novel ‘Light from Uncommon Stars’ shines upon a diverse San Gabriel Valley – Press Telegram

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