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Harmless Like You
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Shortlisted for The Authors' Club Best First Novel Award 2017.
Longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize 2017.
Traversing continents and generations, this sublime debut explores identity, self-sacrifice and dislocation with elegance and wit.
It’s 1968 and Yuki Oyama decides to stay in New York with her friend, Odile and her friend’s mother, Lillian, when her parents return to Japan. “I wouldn't belong”, she muses, plus “she didn't want to be her mother following a sad man around the world”. Despite sharing a bed with Odile, Yuki never feels close to her. Odile is wrapped up in forging a modeling career, and then heads to Italy, abandoning Yuki to Lillian and her violent boyfriend. Abandonment, loneliness, and seeking solace from loneliness are recurring themes. Some years later, when she has a home, a husband who loves her, a baby son, and the talent to be an artist, Yuki remains unsettled, and feels a desperate desire to leave.
A sense of longing - and never quite belonging - is poignantly evoked as the narrative alternates between Yuki’s story through the seventies, and her son’s life in 2016, culminating in a tense, bittersweet reconciliation in Berlin, where she’s made her home. While this novel’s language treads soft, it leaves a deep imprint, and makes for a powerfully, memorable reading experience. ~ Joanne Owen
Win tickets to the Borders Book Festival!
We have 4 tickets (2 pairs) to give away to one lucky winner to attend two Walter Scott Prize events taking place at the Baillie Gifford Borders Book Festival on Saturday 17 June 2017. One pair of tickets is for a panel event with shortlisted authors, and the other is for the Prize event in which the winner is announced and presented. Click here to find out more about the Borders Book Festival.
Please note that this draw is open only for UK residents and is free to enter. Multiple entries from the same email address will only be counted once and the prize cannot be exchanged for cash and does not include transport or accommodation. Draw closes on 2 May 2017. The winner will be chosen randomly from all entrants and will be notified by 14 May 2017.
Harmless Like You by Rowan Hisayo Buchanan
SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2016 BAMB READERS AWARD FOR BREAKTHROUGH AUTHOR. Written in startlingly beautiful prose, HARMLESS LIKE YOU is set across New York, Berlin and Connecticut, following the stories of Yuki Oyama, a Japanese girl fighting to make it as an artist, and Yuki's son Jay who, as an adult in the present day, is forced to confront his mother who abandoned him when he was only two years old.
'This brilliant debut novel by Rowan Hisayo Buchanan is cause for celebration.' Lorrie Moore
'Impressive ... Rowan Hisayo Buchanan [is] a 27-year-old with a very big literary career in front of her ... Slick and intelligent... it's the subtle brilliance of Buchanan's back-to-front tale that really left me reeling. Stylist
'Elegant, accomplished debut... Although this is a dark novel, it is also as rich and vivid as the chapter headings descriptions of paint colours' Express
'This beautiful novel explores creativity and the complicated relationships between parents and children. Psychologies This elegant and moving novel burns slowly, building in intensity as it develops to explore the subjects of identity, alienation and desire.' Fanny Blake, Daily Mail
'Harmless Like You is a refreshing, bold book about understatement.' Sunday Telegraph
'It's pretty rare that a book takes my breath away. But I guarantee Rowan Hisayo Buchanan's beautiful debut, Harmless Like You, will do just that ... in its purest sense, Harmless Like You is a novel about art and abandonment but, far more than that, it's an engrossing human story of two people who can't find themselves, let alone each other; about what love looks like to different people, and how you learn to give it or feel it. Or, indeed, don't. Buchanan nails decades-long loneliness in a way that will leave your heart hurting.' Sam Baker, The Pool
About the Author
Publication date11th August 2016
AuthorRowan Hisayo Buchanan
More books by Rowan Hisayo Buchanan
Author 'Like for Like'
PublisherSceptre an imprint of Hodder & Stoughton General Division
CategoriesModern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
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