Woman Running in the Mountains

Yuko Tsushima, trans. from the Japanese by Geraldine Harcourt. NYRB, $17.95 (288p) ISBN 978-1-68137-597-7
The quiet and elegant latest in English from Tsushima (Territory of Light), first published in Japan in 1980, is a moving portrait of a woman struggling to figure out who she is amid societal and familial expectations. Takiko, 21, is a single mother—her child the result of a one-night stand with a married coworker—who is physically abused by her father and constantly shamed by her mother. Many scenes are dedicated to simple moments, like Takiko admiring a view from a hospital window, yet underneath it all is the pulsing pressure of society’s burdens on her to put her role as a mother first. Tsushima depicts in gentle, often beautiful prose the ways Takiko navigates the financial and physical difficulties of motherhood as a working woman. While the plot loses direction in the middle, save a few memorable scenes in which Takiko fights with her father or speaks with a friend, Tsushima’s attention to detail and grace with language carry the story until the third act, where Takiko’s internal struggles culminate in her self-realization. This sticks the landing as a passionate, urgent story about desire and self-identity. (Feb.)
Reviewed on : 11/23/2021
Release date: 02/08/2022
Genre: Fiction
Hardcover - 275 pages - 978-0-394-58238-2
Paperback - 978-0-679-72734-7
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