Waters, Mary Yukari 1965-

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WATERS, Mary Yukari 1965-


Born 1965, in Kyoto, Japan; father a physicist. Education: University of California, Santa Barbara, B.S. (economics); University of California, Irvine, M.F.A.


Home—Los Angeles, CA. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Scribner, Simon & Schuster, 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020.


Writer and educator. Mount Saint Mary's College, Los Angeles, CA, teacher of creative writing. Also worked as a certified public accountant at Deloitte Touche for ten years.


O. Henry Award; Yaddo fellowship; MacDowell fellowship; Pushcart Prize, 2000; National Endowment for the Arts literature fellowship, 2002.


The Laws of Evening (short stories), Scribner (New York, NY), 2003.

Contributor to The Best American Short Stories 2002, The O. Henry Prize Stories 2002, The Pushcart Book of Short Stories: The Best Short Stories from a Quarter-Century of the Pushcart Prize, The Best American Short Stories 2003, and Zoetrope: All-Story 2.


A novel.


In The Laws of Evening, Mary Yukari Waters "explores the themes of loss, memory, grief, and cultural change in Japan during and after World War II," wrote Library Journal reviewer Cheryl L. Conway. In her debut collection, published in 2003, Waters offers eleven stories "as finely wrought as miniature Japanese sculptures in balsa wood," according to a Kirkus Reviews critic.

Waters, a native of Japan, moved to the United States at the age of nine. She earned a bachelor's degree in economics from the University of California, Santa Barbara, then went to work as a certified public accountant. After her father's death in 1995, Waters suffered what she described to Santa Monica Mirror contributor Kathleen Herd Masser as a "quarter-life crisis." She began taking writing classes and managed to sell some of her early work. Those experiences eventually led her to pursue a master's degree in writing at the University of California, Irvine.

The stories in The Laws of Evening examine the lives of Japanese men and women dealing with the effects of war on their daily lives. In "Aftermath," a Japanese war widow grows uneasy watching her young son adapt to American culture during the occupation, and in "Kami" an elderly woman who has lost two husbands—one to war, the other to cancer—saturates her life with television and programmed music to blur painful memories. "Measured, deliberate and often nearly plotless, these stories require a certain patience, and the delicacy of their construction is not always apparent until the second reading. But such effort is amply repaid," wrote Mary Park in the New York Times. In the words of L.A. Weekly contributor Judith Lewis, "Waters has chosen not to write about the shapers of history but rather the ordinary people who struggle to love their lovers and raise their children and look on the bright side of a world gone dark with death."



Booklist, May 1, 2003, Kristine Huntley, review of The Laws of Evening, pp. 1582-1584.

Kirkus Reviews, February 1, 2003, review of The Laws of Evening, p. 179.

L.A. Weekly, May 30-June 5, 2003, Judith Lewis, "Life after Dark."

Library Journal, March 15, 2003, Cheryl L. Conway, review of The Laws of Evening, p. 119.

Los Angeles Magazine, May, 2003, Ariel Swartley, "No Place like Home," pp. 105-107.

Los Angeles Times, June 1, 2003, Mark Rozzo, "First Fiction," p. R14.

New York Times Book Review, June 8, 2003, Mary Park, "Lacquer on Everything," p. 24.

Publishers Weekly, April 28, 2003, review of The Laws of Evening, p. 46.

Seattle Times, June 22, 2003, Irene Wanner, "Stories Detail Japan and American Occupation," p. K14.


Barnes & Noble Web site,http://www.barnesandnoble.com/ (fall, 2003), "Meet the Writers: Mary Yukari Waters."

Santa Monica Mirror Online,http://www.smmirror.com/ (September 3-9, 2003), Kathleen Herd Masser, "Mary Yukari Waters: Below the Surface."*