April 18, 2009

Novelist Houston dead at age 75

Novelist James D. Houston, whose works ranged from Hawaiian culture to World War II acts, has died at the age of 75, his daughter Gabrielle says.

The Los Angeles Times reported Saturday that while Houston was known for chronicling Hawaiian culture and the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, he was also recognized as a prized chronicler of California life.

Whether in fiction or non-fiction, few writers have more consistently addressed the enduring issues arising out of the California experience than James D. Houston, California historian Kevin Starr said. For those of us writing about the Golden State, he set standards by which the rest of us judged our own efforts.

Houston detailed California experiences in works like 2001's Snow Mountain Passage and 2007's Bird of Another Heaven. The literary works were among Houston's nine career novels.

The Times said Houston, who died Thursday of complications of cancer in Santa Cruz, Calif., is survived by his wife Jeanne and four children.