A young mother fights impossible odds to be reunited with her
child in this acutely insightful first novel about an intercultural
marriage gone terribly wrong.
Jill Parker is an American painter living in Japan. Far from the
trendy "gaijin" neighborhoods of downtown Tokyo, she's settled in a
remote seaside village where she makes ends meet as a bar hostess.
Her world appears to open when she meets Yusuke, a savvy and
sensitive art gallery owner who believes in her talent. But their
love affair, and subsequent marriage, is doomed to a life of
domestic hell, for Yusuke is the "chonan," the eldest son, who
assumes the role of rigid patriarch in his traditional family while
Jill's duty is that of a servile Japanese wife. A daily battle of
wills ensues as Jill resists instruction in the proper womanly
arts. Even the long-anticipated birth of a son, Kei, fails to unite
them. Divorce is the only way out, but in Japan a foreigner has no
rights to custody, and Jill must choose between freedom and
abandoning her child.
Told with tenderness, humor, and an insider's knowledge of
contemporary Japan, "Losing Kei" is the debut novel of an
exceptional expatriate voice.
Suzanne Kamata's work has appeared in over one hundred
publications. She is the editor of "The Broken Bridge: Fiction from
Expatriates in Literary Japan" and a forthcoming anthology from
Beacon Press on parenting children with disabilities. A five-time
nominee for the Pushcart Prize, she has twice won the Nippon
Airways/Wingspan Fiction Contest.
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