Culture & Memoir

Yarn: Remembering the Way Home

Kyoko Mori (Author)

Cover image for Yarn: Remembering the Way Home by Kyoko Mori

Yarn: Remembering the Way Home

A memoir by Kyoko Mori

A memoir of crossing cultures, losing love and finding home by a New York Times Notable author in her prime.

From the flawed school mittens made in her native Japan, where needlework is used as a way to prepare women for marriage and silence, to the beautiful unmatched patterns of cardigans, hats and shawls made in the American Midwest, Kyoko draws the connection between knitting and the new life she tried to establish in the United States. From the suicide of her mother to the last empty days of her marriage, Kyoko finds a way to begin again on her own terms. Interspersed with fact and history about knitting throughout, the narrative touchingly contemplates the nature of love, loss and what holds a marriage together.

In the tradition of M. F. K. Fisher’s The Gastronomical Me and Michael Pollan’s The Botany of Desire, Kyoko Mori examines a particular subject to understand human nature―when to unravel, when to begin again, when to drop the stitch, and when to declare…it’s finished.

“Kyoko Mori writes about loss so quietly and wisely, and in a way no other memoirist I’ve read has ever managed.” – Suzanne Berne, The Ghost at the Table, A Perfect Arrangement, A Crime in the Neighbourhood (Orange Prize for Fiction), and Lucile: My Grandmother in History, and Vice Versa.

“Sit with Kyoko Mori as she artfully takes in hand needles and fiber, and also the realities of her life story, to knit this gorgeous memoir of loss, emigration, grief, identity and the work of her hands.” – Suzanne Strempek Shea, Sundays in America: A Year-Long Roadtrip in Search of Christian Faith

“Kyoko Mori’s books are like red dragonflies at sunset. Afterwards, I’m not sure if I really experienced them or if it was a dream.” – Henri Cole, Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize author of Middle Earth and Blackbird and Wolf As steadily and quietly as her marriage falls apart, so Kyoko Mori’s understanding of knitting deepens.

About the Author

Kyoko Mori’s award-winning first novel, Shizuko’s Daughter, was hailed by the New York Times as “a jewel of a book, one of those rarities that shine out only a few times in a generation.” Her many critically acclaimed books include Polite Lies, The Dream of Water, and the novels, Stone Field, True Arrow and One Bird. Her stories and essays have appeared in The American Scholar, The Kenyon Review, The Prairie Schooner, Harvard Review, The Best American Essays, and other journals and anthologies. Mori holds a Ph.D. in English/Creative Writing from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She was Briggs-Copeland Lecturer in Creative Writing, Harvard (1999-2005) and, for the last 5 years, on the faculty of the Lesley University Low-Residency MFA program in Cambridge. Kyoko Mori is associate professor of English at George Mason University. She lives in Washington, DC.