A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding by Jackie Copleton

1. First lines. 2. Publisher: Penguin Random House 3. Collage of images in the public domain of the bombing of Nagasaki, and its aftermath.
I really liked this book.
This story shows a human side to the harrowing aftermath of the bombing of Nagasaki.

An aging Amaterasu Takahashi lives in Philadelphia, having moved there from Nagasaki after the war. One day, a Japanese man calls on her, claiming to be her grandson Hideo, who Amaterasu believed had died in the bombing. The story moves back in time to reveal her life story, and the details of her relationship with her daughter (Hideo’s mother).

 “Outside the sky was purple. I looked for my friends, for the teachers, but they were gone. More people were heading to the shelter, naked, moaning, their torsos bloated. I ran away from them. I did not want to hear their cries.”

“Death’s greatest cruelty is to claim the wrong people.”

Quotes from the book.
  • Kirkus Review: ‘A fully drawn portrait of a city and a life, this novel will hold appeal for history buffs, lovers of literary fiction, and readers of high-drama romance.”
  • Publishers Weekly: “Though the story has many moving passages and an initially intriguing plot, the denouement strains credibility.”

Longlist 2016 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction

Other editions.    Reader’s Guide Online at Penguin Random House Excerpt online: Penguin Random House

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