So many choices for reading about Japan. Not only that, but I’ve already engaged with quite a few of the best known Japanese authors (Murakami, Ishiguro, Soseki, Kawabata), so that left me free to dig a little deeper. And I’m so glad I did.
The book I chose, Woman on the Other Shore byMitsuyo Kakuta is just beautiful. It made me realize how rarely you encounter a real telling of relationships between women; friendships, daughters and mothers, coworkers – all of these can be so impactful, but we’re often left to navigate the emotions they bring up all by ourselves. I recommend this book wholeheartedly; it’s well worth your time.
Now that I’m done, I kind of don’t know what to say. There was nothing easy about this book, at all. It’s good, in that it’s well-written, in a confident voice, and about a community -and its problems- that I might never know about otherwise. It’s painful in that quite a few of the characters make terrible choices, and are cruel and abusive to those around them. And the one character I did respect and like…well, it’s just harsh.
Published in 1990, this book is still controversial, and it’s easy to see why. It was made into a movie about a decade later, and I’m still deciding if I can handle watching it…
All told, a worthwhile read but it will hit you hard.