Rahna Reiko Rizzuto



Rahna Reiko Rizzuto was born and raised in Hawaii and has a degree in astrophysics from Columbia College. She lives in Brooklyn. WHY SHE LEFT US, which Lois-Ann Yamanaka called “beautiful and poignant,” is Ms. Rizzuto’s first novel.
Dennis Y. Ginoza recently spoke with Rahna Reiko Rizzuto at the Wing Luke Asian Museum in Seattle. Ms. Rizzuto’s answers are presented here in RealMedia 5.0 format (non-streaming). To listen to these files, you will need the free RealPlayer software.
To read more about WHY SHE LEFT US, click here.To read an interview with Ms. Rizzuto that appeared in Salon Magazine, click here.
To listen to Ms. Rizzuto read an excerpt from WHY SHE LEFT US, click on the following Realmedia file: rizexcerpt

Q&A with Rahna Reiko Rizzuto

Q – When did you first start writing? riz1

Q – Were any authors influential on you as a writer? Who are you reading now? riz9

Q – You have a background in astrophysics. Does this influence your writing in any way? riz10

Q – Your novel unfolds non-chronologically. Did certain stories come to you first? What was the order in which you conceived of each part of WHY SHE LEFT US? riz11

Q – How did your visit to the site of the Amache internment camp affect you? riz2

Q – How did you approach your interviews with people who had been interned? Did you approach these interviews seeking specific information or were you more open ended in your questions? riz3



Q – Silence plays a large part in your novel, yet each character’s silence seems to possess a different quality; there is the silence of willful forgetting, the silence of refusing to discuss the past, and a silence that springs from a loss of words. How do you see silence playing out in WHY SHE LEFT US? riz4

Q – There are several striking scenes of childbirth throughout your novel as well as scenes of abortion and miscarriage. What resonance do these images possess both for your characters and for you as a writer? riz5

Q – Can you talk about the difference between facts and truth in WHY SHE LEFT US? riz6

Q – Shame and family honor play important roles in your novel. Do you think these issues resonate in today’s confessional culture? Are shame and family honor a unique part of the Asian American experience or do you see them as part of a larger American experience? riz7

Q – Now that you’ve had a chance to step back and reflect upon your work, do you see your WHY SHE LEFT US as an essentially hopeful novel? riz8

Q – Why do you write? riz12

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