An award-winning story of love, friendship, and the power of human connection.
Kohei Araki believes that a dictionary is a boat to carry us across the sea of words. But after thirty-seven years of creating dictionaries, it's time for him to retire and find his replacement.
He discovers a kindred spirit in Mitsuya Majime--a young, disheveled square peg with a penchant for collecting antiquarian books and a background in linguistics--whom he swipes from his company's sales department.
Along with an energetic, if reluctant, new recruit and an elder linguistics scholar, Majime is tasked with a career-defining accomplishment: completing The Great Passage, a comprehensive 2,900-page tome of the Japanese language. On his journey, Majime discovers friendship, romance, and an incredible dedication to his work, inspired by the words that connect us all.
About the Author
Shion Miura made her fiction debut in 2000 with Kakuto suru mono ni maru (A Passing Grade for Those Who Fight). In 2006, she won the Naoki Prize for her story collection Mahoro ekimae Tada Benriken (The Handymen in Mahoro Town). Her other novels include Kaze ga tsuyoku fuiteiru (The Wind Blows Hard), Kogure-so monogatari (The Kogure Apartments), and Ano ie ni kurasu yonin no onna (The Four Women Living in That House). Her other works in English, all translated by Juliet Winters Carpenter, include The Easy Life in Kamusari (Kamusari naanaa nichijo), volume one in her Forest series, and The Great Passage (Fune o amu), which was made into an award-winning motion picture and received both the Booksellers' Award in Japan in 2012 and an Earphones Award. Miura has also published more than fifteen collections of essays and is a manga aficionado.
Juliet Winters Carpenter is a professor emerita of Doshisha Women's College of Liberal Arts and a veteran translator. Her first translated novel, Secret Rendezvous by Kobo Abe, received the 1980 Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission Prize for the Translation of Japanese Literature. In 2014, her translation of A True Novel by Minae Mizumura received the same award, as well as the American Translators Association's Lewis Galantière Award. Besides Shion Miura's bestselling novel The Great Passage, her recent translations include An I-Novel by Minae Mizumura, At the End of the Matinee by Keiichiro Hirano, and Pax Tokugawana: The Cultural Flowering of Japan, 1603-1853 by Tōru Haga. She and her husband live on Whidbey Island in Washington State.