This poignant novel by Haruki Murakami's main translator depicts the unusual relationship between a strong Japanese woman and her erstwhile American son. Arriving in Seattle before the outbreak of World War II, Mitsuko Fukai falls in love with a widowed clergyman. Though their relationship does not survive wartime, she and his blond-haired child are evacuated to an internment camp with other Japanese and Japanese Americans. Eventually separated from Michiko at the end of the war, the American son reunites with his estranged father and journeys to war-ravaged Japan to rekindle dim memories of the past and to find his okaasan.
Jay Rubin is one of the foremost English-language translators of Japanese literature. He has translated seven works of fiction and nonfiction by Haruki Murakami, Japan's most popular contemporary novelist. Most recently, he was a main translator of IQ84. Rubin received his PhD in Japanese literature from the University of Chicago and taught at Harvard University and the University of Washington.