The Climate of the Country

Trade Cloth – $24.95

ISBN 978-1-880684-58-0
Publication Date
February 1999
Page Count
305 pages
Trim Size
6.2 x 9.3

The Climate of the Country

A Novel
Marine Mueller

This new novel by award-winning author Marnie Mueller tells the tragic and dramatic story of Tule Lake Japanese American Segregation Camp during World War II. It is narrated from the unique insider view of Denton Jordan, a conscientious objector, and his wife Esther, who are both living and working in the camp.

In this gripping tale of the disintegration of loyalty, love, and friendship, we experience a disturbing piece of American history. Violence erupts when Camp Director Ted Andross imposes repressive and culturally insensitive measures against the Japanese American detainees. Already imprisoned Issei are asked to renounce the Emperor - their God - in order to prove their loyalty to the United States. Their children, even though they are U.S. citizens, are forced to make the agonizing choice between family and country. The crisis pits Andross against his staff, husband against wife, and friend against friend. In the midst of this tension, Denton, a pacifist during a time when being a man meant "shouldering a gun for America," is struggling to save his disintegrating marriage with Esther, the daughter of Jewish intellectuals working to get Jews out of Europe.

The novel explores the difficulty of living up to one's own principles and the psychological impact of trauma on personal relationships - dramatizing how intense pressure can lead to anger, self-doubt, infidelity and murder.
About the Author

Marnie Mueller is an American novelist. She was born in the Tule Lake Japanese American Segregation Camp during WWII, the child of Caucasian parents protesting the treatment of those incarcerated there. Mueller's work has received numerous awards and citations, including an AMERICAN BOOK AWARD and a Barnes and Noble "Discover Great New Writers" selection. She currently lives in New York City. 

"This is a compelling novel of sorrow, idealism and loyalty documenting how Japanese Americans were driven from their American homes into American concentration camps and how they struggled honorably to preserve their dignity in the face of insult and exile." —Grace Paley

"Novelist Mueller was born in the Tule Lake Camp, and her story is loosely based on her parents' experiences, but what makes this a riveting novel is not only the strong sense of history and the particulars of the racist internment but also the way the politics is played out in family, work, and erotic love." —Booklist

"Marnie Mueller has sited her new novel at the heart of one of the great all-American injustices of modern times—the internment of Japanese American citizens at Tule Lake during the Second World War. She has given us a morally intricate story splendidly evocative of the place and the times, told with great drive and clarity, peopled with vividly realized characters. I hope her book will attract the wide readership it deserves." —Norman Rush