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Unabridged   10.25 hour(s)
Publication date: 03/16/2018

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Audio CD ISBN:9781681689524
Digital Download ISBN:9781681689531


Clarissa Goenawan's dark, spellbinding literary debut opens with a murder and shines a spotlight onto life in fictional small-town Japan.

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Product Description

Ren Ishida is nearly finished with graduate school when he receives news of his sister, Keiko's, sudden death. She was viciously stabbed one rainy night on her way home, and there are no leads. Ren heads to Akakawa to conclude his sister's affairs, still failing to understand why she chose to abandon the family and Tokyo for this desolate town years ago.

But Ren soon finds himself picking up where Keiko left off, accepting both her teaching position at a local cram school and the bizarre arrangement of free lodging at a wealthy politician's mansion in exchange for reading to the man's catatonic wife.

As he comes to know the figures in Akakawa, from the enigmatic politician to his fellow teachers and a rebellious, alluring student named Rio, Ren delves into his shared childhood with Keiko and what followed, trying to piece together what happened the night of her death. Haunted in his dreams by a young girl who is desperately trying to tell him something, Ren struggles to find solace in the void his sister has left behind.


​"​In a genre-bending novel about family and loss that shifts from a murder mystery to magical realism, Goenawan infuses her postmodern tale with enough complexity, suspense, and emotional connection to make it memorable and haunting​." —Library Journal, Starred Review​

"Dreamlike . . . character-driven focus and introspective tone will attract literary-fiction readers." —Booklist

"[A] well-paced mystery . . . Goenawan’s debut balances a finely wrought plot with patient, measured portraits of fragile relationships, making for a spare yet inviting novel that grabs hold and doesn’t let go." —Publishers Weekly

"Goenawan's debut proves to be a soulful whodunit full of deadpan humor and whimsical narrative unpredictability. A witty, well-constructed debut." —Kirkus Reviews

Author Bio

Clarissa Goenawan studied novel-writing with the Curtis Brown Creative and was formerly a mentee on the WoMentoring Project. Her first novel, Rainbirds, is the winner of the 2015 Bath Novel Award. Her short stories have won several awards and been published in various literary magazines and anthologies.