Kōdansha, 2014. 192 pp. ¥1,700. ISBN 978-4-06-218969-9.
Also published in: n/a
This simple truth about child-rearing is presented in unshakable terms. The fact that there is no blood relationship between the woman and her son only brings the nobility of the connection between mother and child into clearer focus. The overwhelming feelings associated with treasured children are one of the oldest themes of Japanese literature, as seen in the verse “there is no jewel more precious than a child” from the Man’yōshū collection of fourth- to eighth-century poetry.
The novel also depicts the fragility and loneliness of this maternal relationship. The awareness that her child will one day be taken from her makes the sight of her healthy boy even more precious. The author, also known as a poet, captures in lively prose the deep emotions that can come from living with a child. As Japanese society struggles with the consequences of a dwindling birthrate, this book serves as a timely reminder of the special joy that children can bring. (NK)
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