A BOOK OF THE YEAR FOR THE DAILY MAIL AND WOMAN AND HOME
A New York Times 'Editor's Pick'
One of the Observer's Ten Best Debut Novelists of 2020
Shortlisted for the Author's Club First Novel Award
Longlisted for the Jhalak Prize
Longlisted for the CWA John Creasy New Blood Dagger
'Enrapturing... This richly imagined novel considers the many permutations of love and what we are capable of doing in its name' New York Times
'A brilliant debut' Louise Doughty, author of Apple Tree Yard
'You'll have the heart rate of an Olympic hurdler' Sunday Express
'I read it with my heart in my throat' Sara Collins, author of The Confessions of Frannie Langton
'An exquisitely crafted masterpiece you'll be pressing into the hands of others' Woman & Home
'An intoxicatingly atmospheric mystery' Daily Mail
'Dark, addictive and eye-opening, this is a brilliant debut' Stylist
A gripping debut set in modern-day Tokyo and inspired by a true crime, What's Left of Me Is Yours follows a young woman's search for the truth about her mother's life - and her murder.
In Japan, a covert industry has grown up around the wakaresaseya (literally "breaker-upper"), a person hired by one spouse to seduce the other in order to gain the advantage in divorce proceedings.
When Sato hires Kaitaro, a wakaresaseya agent, to have an affair with his wife, Rina, he assumes it will be an easy case. But Sato has never truly understood Rina or her desires and Kaitaro's job is to do exactly that - until he does it too well.
While Rina remains ignorant of the circumstances that brought them together, she and Kaitaro fall in a desperate, singular love, setting in motion a series of violent acts that will forever haunt her daughter Sumiko's life.
Told from alternating points of view and across the breathtaking landscapes of Japan, What's Left of Me Is Yours explores the thorny psychological and moral grounds of the actions we take in the name of love, asking where we draw the line between passion and possession.
In Scott's intense debut, a young woman explores the Japanese legal system and its relationship to the country's divorce industry. Twenty-seven-year-old Sumiko Sarashima, a newly licensed attorney, seeks to discover the truth behind her mother's murder in 1994 when Sumiko was seven. Rina Sato's murderer, Kaitaro Nakamura, who once worked to seduce his clients' spouses as evidential grounds for divorce, is now serving a 20-year sentence. What's not clear to Sumiko is why Kaitaro murdered her mother. Scott rolls out the rest of the story adroitly, scrupulously reconstructing Sumiko's parents' past through case files and videotapes. Rina's and Kaitaro's passionate relationship unfolds in juxtaposed stories covering numerous locations Tokyo, Sapporo, Shimoda, courtrooms and prison. The novel becomes exhilarating as Sumiko narrows her pursuit for the truth, interspersed with wistful chapters recounting Sumiko's poignant memories of having two parents before she was adopted by her maternal grandfather. As Sumiko works to resolve the mystery of her mother's murder, sifting through the facts brings her closer to understanding the blurred line that exists between love and hate. Byzantine subplots, distinctive characters, and atmospheric settings will leave readers spellbound.
Singaporean-British. Born and raised in SE Asia. Studied English literature at York and Cambridge, then Masters in creative writing from Oxford. She was awarded a British Association of Studies Toshiba Studentship, and made a member of the British Japanese Law Association, for the anthropological research she did for this, her debut novel.
Sumi is a recently qualified female lawyer in present day Tokyo. She was raised by her grandfather, an eminent lawyer, Yoshi, after her mother Rina died, aged 30, in a car accident, having previously divorced her disaffected Dad Satu. Except it wasn't a car accident that killed Rina. That's just what grandpa told little Sumi. In her twenties and with legal contacts and expertise under her belt, Sumi goes digging after she receives a phone call meant for Yoshi. Turns out Satu was in strife with his business so he hired Kaitaro, a 'wakanaeasaya.' (In English, we say wankosaurus. I do anyway.) A 'wakanaeasaya' is a sort of private eye who doesn't just take happy snaps of wives committing adultery as grounds for divorce, he seduces them himself then takes the photos. Cool job, eh? (There's probably an app for that now). The wankosaurus is hired by husbands who want wifey's assets, a younger model, or both. There's no such thing as joint custody in Japanese divorces, or wasn't in the 1990s, which made it winner take all for hubby. Rina duly falls for Kaitaro. Trouble is, he falls for her too. Satu sacks him and the agency he works for but the K man's on a mission by now, a mission which ends badly for the lovers, surprise, surprise. Sumi ultimately solves the mystery of her Mom's demise, which wasn't really that mysterious.
Third person from well labelled several POVs, which moves back and forth from the 1990s to the present day.
Sumi, Yoshi, Rina and Kaitaro are all well drawn, if not completely relatable to the Western reader: this Western reader anyway. Take home message: Japan is different. Here's why. (Evil Dad is evil Dad the world over.) The extraordinary metropolis of Tokyo features strongly too.
Elegant, well crafted, lyrical, moody, but likely too slow moving for some (my wife for instance)
Extremely classy effort first time at bat. The book enlightened me greatly about Japanese society and the legal system.