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This compelling novel, widely acclaimed for its perceptive portrayal of the everyday lives and struggles of Japanese women, struck a deep chord with readers throughout Japan. In 2005 it won the prestigious Naoki Prize, awarded semiannually for the best work of popular fiction by an established writer.
Sayoko, a thirty-five-year-old homemaker with a three-year-old child, begins working for Aoi, a free-spirited, single career woman her own age who runs a travel agency-housekeeping business. Timid and unable to connect with other mothers in her neighborhood, Sayoko finds herself drawn to Aoi's independent lifestyle and easygoing personality. The two hit it off from the start, beginning a friendship that is for Sayoko also a reaffirmation of what living is about.
Aoi, meanwhile, has not always been the self-confident person she appears to be. Severe classroom bullying in junior high had forced her to change schools, uprooting her and her family to the countryside; and at her new school, she was so afraid of again becoming the object of her classmates' cruelties that she spent most of her time steering clear of those around her.
The present-day friendship between Sayoko and Aoi on the one hand, and Aoi's painful high school past on the other, form a gripping two-tier narrative that converges in the final chapter. The book touches on a broad range of issues of concern to women today, from marriage and childrearing to being single and working for oneself. It is a universal story about both the fear and the joy of opening up to others.
|Product dimensions:||9.00(w) x 6.20(h) x 0.90(d)|
About the Author
Mitsuyo Kakuta was born in Yokohama in 1967. She began her writing career while still a student at Waseda University. She is the author of over a dozen books and the recipient of several literary awards, including Japan's most prestigious for popular fiction, the Naoki Prize, which she won for Woman on the Other Shore. This is her first work to appear in English.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
'Woman on the Other Shore' won the Naoki Prize in 2005, Japan¿s most prestigious literary award for popular fiction. Mitsuyo Kakuta is the author of over a dozen books and the recipient of several literary awards including the Noma Literary Prize for New Writers and the Fujin Koron Literary Prize. Born in Yokohama in 1967 she began her writing career while still a student at Wasedo University. Besides her works of fiction she writes essays about rock music, manga, and contributes to popular magazines............................... 'Woman on the Other Shore', translated from the Japanese by Wayne P. Lammers, was also specially selected for the Japanese Literature Publishing Project or the JLPP. Launched in 2002, the JLPP is part of the Agency for Cultural Affairs of Japan efforts to promote the translation and publication of Japanese contemporary fiction. At the moment they are targeting four foreign languages, including English, French, German, and Russian............................... 'In Woman on the Other Shore' we are introduced to Sayoko, who is a 35 year-old housewife with a three-year-old daughter. Her husband is disinterested, a vague figure in the background for most of the story and her grumpy mother-in-law always has a sharp word for Sayoko concerning her child rearing or cooking. Sayoko is stuck in this mold and keeps asking herself `When am I ever going to stop being the same old me?¿ .............................. When Sayoko finally decides to make a change, she faces the disapproval of her husband and mother-in-law, not to mention her daughter¿s unhappiness. But Sayoko forges ahead and finds herself a job with a small travel/house cleaning company run by Aoi, an intrepid business woman............................... Aoi is 35 as well but without the family and reasonability that Sayoko has in her life. At first it seems that these two very different women have nothing in common. As the story slowly unfolds and Aoi¿s past is revealed, however, piece by piece you realize how similar these two really are. Both have unhappy memories of school, but Aoi¿s past is especially painful and even as adults they are still vulnerable and insecure............................... While the story moves forward with the friendship of Sayoko and Aoi, it also looks back at the teenage friendship that shaped Aoi. Bullied in school Aoi transfers schools and towns in the hope of finding some relief. In her new school she meets Nanako, a girl who floats between the ridged cliques, and soon befriends Aoi............................... These two story lines are brought together in the final chapter of the novel. Who Sayoko is has changed she is stronger and more her own person than she was before. We understand Aoi better, who she is behind the mask she holds up to the world. Their friendship is cemented with simple gestures as both women come to fully understand and accept each other.............................. What boundaries do you have in your life? When do you dare to cross them? 'In Woman on the Other Shore' these two characters, two very real women, cross a boundary to discover they are not alone there might be rivers dividing us but there are bridges linking us as well. This is a poignant and beautifully written novel, a novel that is timeless in many ways, a classic in our modern world.
APWH Book Review: When I read this book I was worried about not enjoying it because it was for a history project, but once I began reading the book I slowly fell to love it. It is a compelling novel with interesting characters and plot. The two main characters Sayoko and Aio are such deep characters as you began to learn about their past and the problems they are facing. The reader gets a point of view on both an independent, business beginning, unmarried Japanese woman while also giving an in depth view on a married woman and her struggles of having a child and getting involved back into a work place. I would most definitely recommend others to read this book both for an easy fun read and a way to learn more about Japanese lifestyles, culture, and societal beliefs. I do not enjoy reading documents that are full of definitions and facts and this book broke away from that. It gave me a story that I could enjoy while also learning something. I think it is a good book to read because there were so many different topics that I was unable to write all about in depth or had the time to explain or learn more about. The book expressed culture, societal expectations, modernization and how westernization has played a part in the everyday life of the people living in Japan.