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A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding
by Jackie Copleton


Overview - In the tradition of Memoirs of a Geisha and The Piano Teacher , a heart-wrenching debut novel of family, forgiveness, and the exquisite pain of love

When Amaterasu Takahashi opens the door of her Philadelphia home to a badly scarred man claiming to be her grandson, she doesn t believe him.
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More About A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding by Jackie Copleton
 
 
 
Overview
In the tradition of Memoirs of a Geisha and The Piano Teacher, a heart-wrenching debut novel of family, forgiveness, and the exquisite pain of love

When Amaterasu Takahashi opens the door of her Philadelphia home to a badly scarred man claiming to be her grandson, she doesn t believe him. Her grandson and her daughter, Yuko, perished nearly forty years ago during the bombing of Nagasaki. But the man carries with him a collection of sealed private letters that open a Pandora s Box of family secrets Ama had sworn to leave behind when she fled Japan. She is forced to confront her memories of the years before the war: of the daughter she tried too hard to protect and the love affair that would drive them apart, and even further back, to the long, sake-pouring nights at a hostess bar where Ama first learned that a soft heart was a dangerous thing. Will Ama allow herself to believe in a miracle?"

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780143128250
  • ISBN-10: 0143128256
  • Publisher: Penguin Books
  • Publish Date: December 2015
  • Page Count: 304


Related Categories

Books > Fiction > Historical - General
Books > Fiction > Sagas

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2015-10-12
  • Reviewer: Staff

In Copletons uneven debut, Takahashi is visited in her old age by a man who claims to be Hideo, the grandson she believes had died during the WWII bombing of Nagasaki, which triggers memories. Amaterasu learns that Hideo was found in an orphanage and raised by Jomei Sato, an old friend of Amaterasus husband, Kenzo. Amaterasu remembers how she and Kenzo attempted to keep the married and much older Jomei from their 16-year-old daughter, Yuko. Amaterasu gets a better sense of the past after going through her daughters journals and reading letters Jomei had written to Yuko after her death, though she remains wary of Hideo and bitter about Jomeis actions. Copleton breathes life into the first two-thirds of the book, an often-poignant narrative of the many forms of love and loss, though its somewhat hindered by the diary and letter-writing formats. Unfortunately, a dark secret thats hinted at and revealed in the final act of the novel is quite outlandish, and it derails the work of the previous chapters. Though the story has many moving passages and an initially intriguing plot, the denouement strains credibility. (Dec.)

 
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