The year is 1985. Kiwako is an ordinary office worker, in love with a married man, until an unwanted abortion causes her to snap. She kidnaps her lover's six-month-old baby and runs away with her, eventually taking refuge in an all-female religious commune. Here, she attempts to raise the girl. Fifteen years later, the child, Elena, is an adult contending with the difficulties of returning to her "natural family," made up of a mother who doesn't come home, an alcoholic father, and siblings with whom she can't connect. Mitsuyo Kakuta's powerful second novel in English is a sympathetic portrait of two women brought together by tragedy, each struggling to determine her own destiny. Told in the voices of both the kidnapper and her victim, this compelling exploration of the nature of motherhood and family was a critical and popular success in Japan. Now, Margaret Mitsutani's top-notch translation will enable an even greater number of readers to enjoy the work of one of today's outstanding writers.

Kodansha USA 248 pages

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