hikikomori, n. h kik mo ri; literally pulling inward; refers to those who withdraw from society.Inspired by the real-life Japanese social phenomenon called hikikomori and the professional rental sisters hired to help, Hikikomori and the Rental Sister is about an erotic relationship between Thomas, an American hikikomori, and Megumi, a young Japanese immigrant hiding from her own past. The strange, insular world they create together in a New York City bedroom and with the tacit acknowledgment of Thomas s wife reveals three human hearts in crisis, but leaves us with a profound faith in the human capacity to find beauty and meaning in life, even after great sorrow. Mirroring both East and West in its search for healing, Hikikomori and the Rental Sister pierces the emotional walls of grief and delves into the power of human connection to break through to the world waiting outside.Named an Indie Next pick, an Amazon Best Book of the Month, one of Book Riot s 5 to Watch, and an iBookstore Editor s Choice in hardcover.
|Publisher:||Workman Pub Co|
|Publish Date:||Jan 2013|
|Number of Pages:||246|
|Shipping Weight (in pounds):||0.9|
|Product in Inches (L x W x H):||6.0 x 8.75 x 1.0|
In Japan, hikikomori refers to a disturbing social phenomenon in which troubled young men become recluses, hiding in their childhood bedrooms and avoiding contact with even their own families. Thomas Tessler is an American hikikomori. Thomas has a reason for his severe depression. His little son was hit by a car three years ago, and he feels responsible for the boy's death. Since then, the bereaved man has locked himself in a room in the Manhattan apartment he still shares with his wife, Silke.
In desperation, Silke finds a "rental sister" named Megumi at a Japanese shop, hoping that she can help Thomas. (Families of Japanese hikikomori sometimes seek the help of specially trained young women to work with their troubled sons.) Megumi gradually forms a relationship with Thomas that is much more than sisterly.
Verdict: This debut has a claustrophobic feel owing to its subject matter, but Backhaus provides a light at the end of the tunnel and some hope for his tormented characters.
-Leslie Patterson, Brown Univ. Libs., MA
(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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