- Expected Jun 23, 2020
A gripping debut set in modern-day Tokyo and inspired by a true crime, for readers of Everything I Never Told You and The Perfect Nanny, What's Left of Me Is Yours charts 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 Satō hires Kaitarō, a wakaresaseya agent, to have an affair with his wife, Rina, he assumes it will be an easy case. But Satō has never truly understood Rina or her desires and Kaitarō'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 Kaitarō fall in a desperate, singular love, setting in motion a series of violent acts that will forever haunt her daughter's life.
Told from alternating points of view and across the breathtaking landscapes of Japan, Stephanie Scott exquisitely renders the affair and its intricate repercussions. As Rina's daughter, Sumiko, fills in the gaps of her mother's story and her own memory, Scott probes 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.