The Perfect World of Miwako Sumida

Available

Description

From the critically acclaimed author of Rainbirds comes a novel of tragedy and dark histories set in Japan.

University sophomore Miwako Sumida has hanged herself, leaving those closest to her reeling. In the months before her suicide, she was hiding away in a remote mountainside village, but what, or whom, was she running from?

To Ryusei, a fellow student at Waseda; Chie, Miwako's best friend; and Fumi, Ryusei's older sister, Miwako was more than the blunt, no-nonsense person she projected to the world. Heartbroken, Ryusei begs Chie to take him to the village where Miwako spent her final days. While he is away, Fumi receives an unexpected guest at their shared apartment in Tokyo, distracting her from her fear that Miwako's death may ruin what is left of her brother's life.

Expanding on the beautifully crafted world of Rainbirds, Clarissa Goenawan gradually pierces through a young woman's careful fa ade, unmasking her most painful secrets.

Product Details

Price: $26.00  $23.40
Publisher: Soho Press
Published Date: March 10, 2020
Pages: 288
Dimensions: 5.7 X 1.1 X 8.3 inches | 0.95 pounds
ISBN: 9781641291194
BISAC Categories:

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About the Author

Clarissa Goenawan is an Indonesian-born Singaporean writer. Her award-winning short fiction has appeared in literary magazines and anthologies in Singapore, Australia, Japan, Indonesia, the UK, and the US. Rainbirds, her first novel, has been published in eleven different languages.

Reviews

A Literary Hub Most Anticipated Book of 2020

Praise for The Perfect World of Miwako Sumida

"An exquisite tale about the way secrets shape and transform young lives. Behind Goenawan's crisp, spare prose lies a world of emotional complexity."
--Mira T. Lee, award-winning author of Everything Here Is Beautiful

"A novel in three voices about the inner turmoil--and beauty--that people keep walled behind flawless surfaces."
--Tiffany Tsao, author of The Oddfits and The Majesties

"From the first page of Clarissa Goenawan's The Perfect World of Miwako Sumida, we know that the titular Miwako has taken her own life, but we don't know why. This same question plagues Miwako's close friends as they grieve her death and search for answers. In this elegant and haunting novel, Goenawan deftly explores the messiness of grief, the pain of lost chances, and the way a life can collapse under the weight of secrets. Miwako and her friends are under my skin, and I'll be thinking about them for some time."
--Kathleen Barber, author of Truth Be Told and Follow Me

"Vivid and intriguing--an elegantly cryptic, poetically plotted Murakami-esque whydunit."
--Sharlene Teo, award-winning author of Ponti

"Written in clear, simple prose, Goenawan's novel presents the intriguing mystery of Miwako Sumida through the eyes of three characters who try to piece together her puzzle while struggling with their own questions of meaning and identity. This story about youth, friendship, grief, and trauma invites us through secret doors, ready to discover more."
--Intan Paramaditha, PEN Award-winning author of Apple and Knife and The Wandering

"Miwako is a powerful, memorable character . . . The way these characters' lives intersect makes for a complex and satisfying tale, one that's sad at the same time as it's lively and warm."
--Book Riot

"Goenawan, like any skilled novelist, manages to elegantly reveal both the pain and beauty of unraveling a life after loss. This is only her second novel to date, and she's already been compared to the wizard of world-building, Haruki Murakami."
--Lambda Literary

"[Goenawan] raises an age-old question on the fine line where literature ends and life begins . . [she] has her own distinctive voice, as she sensitively explores traumatic sexual experiences through a woman's perspective."
--The Jakarta Post

"As three stories interlink, rich plot, description, and dialogue make this fiction seem like reality. While readers may be aware they're not a part of the novel, through Goenawan's enthralling writing, they will nonetheless become immersed in her fictional world."
--Budi Darma

"A compelling protagonist . . . Like Japanese brush painting, the author's simple, clear prose captures Miwako's vulnerability and complexity. Also vividly drawn are Fumi and Chie, each having built their own unusual protective personas that are gradually revealed. An eerie and elegant puzzle."
--Kirkus Reviews

"Like Goenawan's previous Rainbirds, this is more literary fiction than conventional mystery, featuring exceptionally well-drawn characters facing adversity in a narrative written with an elegance and delicacy."
--Booklist

"Tender and tragic . . . Goenawan's luminous prose captures the deep emotions of her characters as they grapple with questions about family history, gender, and sexuality. The tug of Miwako's strange, troubled spirit will wrench readers from the beginning."
--Publishers Weekly

"Goenawan does an expert job of getting to the core of this university student with a mysterious past, and on how people grapple with the death by suicide of a loved one."
--Alma

Praise for Rainbirds

"​A murder mystery and a family drama in one, this book is as beautiful as it is understated. The author presents us with a fascinatingly structured look into Japanese society and a depiction of mourning and grief that is universally recognizable.​"​
--San Francisco Chronicle ​

"A​ transnational literary tour-de-force. Readers will be carried along by its creepy charm.​"
--The Japan Times​

"Clarissa Goenawan spins a dark, encapsulating story that will certainly reel you in completely."
--Bustle

"Mysterious and dark."
--Daily Beast

"​With its dream sequences, chance encounters and leisurely attention to music and food, this debut novel evokes the simple joys of early Haruki Murakami . . . A satisfying heartfelt tale about letting go."
--amNewYork​