The Woman in the Purple Skirt

Natsuko Imamura, trans. from the Japanese by Lucy North. Penguin, $23 (224p) ISBN 978-0-1431-3602-6
Japanese author Imamura invites the reader to become a voyeur of the everyday in her graceful English-language debut, in which plot takes a backseat to character study. The lonely, self-deprecating narrator, who refers to herself as the Woman in the Yellow Cardigan in contrast to the novel’s eponymous subject of her obsession, watches the woman’s daily public routines and describes them in minute, adulatory detail, expressing her desire for friendship while failing to approach more closely than leaving magazines with job listings circled near the woman’s habitual park bench. Lines between public and private blend as the narrator guides the woman to a housekeeping job at the hotel where she works, and tails her to glimpse snippets of her secret personal life. The narrator’s intense one-way nonsexual desire creates an off-balance frisson of strangeness in which the focused energy expended by her contrasts with the woman’s charmed-life obliviousness, and an inherently dull existence becomes infused with the power of fascination. Psychological thrillers fans who appreciate subtlety should take a look. (June)
Reviewed on : 03/18/2021
Release date: 06/08/2021
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Book - 1 pages - 978-0-525-50764-2
Paperback - 224 pages - 978-0-14-313603-3
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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