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Woman on the Other Shore: A Novel 0th Edition

3 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-4770030436
ISBN-10: 4770030436
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

"All that happy talk about understanding one another and people everywhere being basically the same, it's all a bunch of crap. Everybody's different," rants Aoi, one of the protagonists of Kakuta's authoritative U.S. debut. The story moves between the contemporary story of 30-something housewife Sayoko Tamura, who is tentatively stepping back into the work force, and that of Aoi Narahashi, a shy girl whose parents move to a small town so that she can escape the bullying at her Yokohama high school, set 20 years earlier. The teenaged outcast Aoi makes a crucial, tragic friendship that turns her into an unconventional adult, and in the contemporary narrative, the adult Aoi hires Sayoko to head the new house-cleaning venture of her travel company, Platinum Planet. Success, the two women discover, lies not in corporate ladders, family, conforming to other people's expectations or cutting all ties to follow your bliss. Instead, it lies in the very process of work, and in the connections that arise in that process-with difference being the one thing everyone has in common. The translation occasionally feels more colloquial than necessary, but it nicely conveys the novel's mood of quiet epiphany.
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"This is a poignant and beautifully written novel, a novel that is timeless in many ways, a classic in our modern world." -Blogcritics Magazine (Online)

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Kodansha USA (June 22, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 4770030436
  • ISBN-13: 978-4770030436
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 0.9 x 6.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,105,406 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Alt Man on August 20, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I read Kakuta's novel while in Japan with my Japanese wife on an extended stay. We actually read it at the same time - she in Japanese and me in English. The novel offers a compelling double narrative. As it traces the struggles of a housewife (Sayoko) to find a social place where she's accepted and that's satisfying to her, it simultaneously flashes back to the junior high school days of Aoi, a female entrepeneur of the same age. These two women eventually meet, and the novel looks at how their current relationship is affected by the failed female relationships of the past. I can say that I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. I liked the exploration of relationships and could relate to a lot of it even though I'm a guy. The book reveals a lot about Japanese culture and relationships, even though I don't think you have to know a lot about Japanese culture to appreciate this novel (though Bruce Feiler's book Learning to Bow about the Japanese junior high school system helped me to understand the clannish nature of Japanese junior high schools that both girls experienced). Anyway, I'd recommend this book to anyone. I hope more of Kakuta's works are translated into English (or that I become literate in Japanese!).
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By Sye Sye on May 18, 2015
Format: Hardcover
A story of friendships. I loved this book and have read it twice so far, my wife has just finished it and also thoroughly enjoyed it. I hope a paperback edition becomes available, but that seems unlikely. I payed $35 in total for an ex-library edition of this book and do not regret it.

A wonderful tale of friendships at different stages of life, as well as the complications of female lives and relationships in adolescence and mid thirties. Working mothers in particular would probably relate well to this book. Books of a similar ilk are; Strange Weather in Tokyo, The Housekeeper and the Professor, Kamikaze Girls and Kinshu: Autumn Brocade. Subtle humour and great humanity, this book is genuine.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Claudia Cornwall on October 4, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I have always had a fascination of Japan, the society and her culture since I visited a few years back. Good Japanese fiction and films have a long time left a lasting impression on me and this book is no different.

It depicts and covers a motley crew of issues in Japanese society ranging from the sometimes "archaicsm" of mentalities towards child rearing, working married women and the challenges, stigmas that single, unmarried women face. The relationship between the 2 women is touching as they find common solidarity in spite living different situations.

A highly enjoyable read as I finished the book from page to page in 1 day .I am looking forward to future translations of Kakuta's work in the English language.
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