Hikikomori and the Rental Sister
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Hardcover, Workman Pub Co, 2013, ISBN13 9781616201371, ISBN10 1616201371
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Publishers Weekly,Hikikomori, Backhaus explains in his implausible debut, is the Japanese term for withdrawn, an experience apparently more common than Silke Tessler realizes when she goes looking for help for her husband, Thomas, who shut himself up in a room three years earlier and has barely been outside of it since. Though the traditional "rental sister" concept-evidently an antidote for a hikikomori-remains vague, in this novel it means that Silke hires a beautiful 22-year-old Japanese girl to bring Thomas back into the world. Lucky for him, oral sex and illicit nights together hiding from Silke work wonders with even the most reclusive. While the intellectual underpinning of the book could be said to pose interesting questions about guilt, love, and renewal, more often than not it reads like an adolescent fantasy in which Thomas, in order to save himself and his marriage, must subject himself to Megumi's "immense" sexual appetite; what could be better than a wife-approved tryst with a publicly demure but privately voracious young woman who wants nothing in return? Blatant metaphors of winter, spring, and a spiritually cleansing trip to the hot springs don't buoy the disagreeable proceedings. Agent: David Marshall, Marshall Rights. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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