Malena Watrous, If You Follow me

if-you-follow-me1 This is the second novel I read for my Stanford online writing course. It is something very different from the former work, A Working Theory of Love by Scott Hutchins. The only thing they have in comon is that they both start from an unsolved relationship between suicidal parents and children on the journey through knowledge and acceptance.

Here, Marina is 22 and her father has recently committed suicide. She meets Caroline, a woman from her college grief counseling group, and falls in love with her. They decide to move to Japan together for a year in order to teach English. There, Marina gradually discovers that nothing – from the garbage to her deepest inner emotions – can never be really thrown away. She then finds unexpected solace with her Japanese male supervisor and her seemingly indifferent neighbors. But above all, in the end she learns (from this foreing territory full of strange rules and behavioural codes) how to cope with life and feelings.

Have a look at this short synopsis by the New York Times if you wish to have a quick idea of the book. Then, here you can find the official author’s page and on the Harper Collins’s page you can also read a sample of the novel and appreciate the division into seasons, the use of haiku at the beginning of each section, and the japanese words that open and give sense to every chapter. It surely is an exquisite reading if you are planning a visit to Japan…

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