Harmless Like You Synopsis
'This brilliant debut novel by Rowan Hisayo Buchanan is cause for celebration.' LORRIE MOORE 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. HARMLESS LIKE YOU is an unforgettable novel about the complexities of identity, art, adolescent friendships and familial bonds, offering a unique exploration of love, loneliness and reconciliation.
Harmless Like You Press Reviews
Rowan Hisayo Buchanan writes with beauty and sensitivity about what it means to be an artist, a parent, and an outsider in a foreign culture. * New York Journal of Books * With luminous prose, unflinching honesty, and compelling narrative drive . . . HARMLESS LIKE YOU is a stunning debut that reads like the work of a seasoned novelist. * JUDITH MITCHELL, author of A Reunion of Ghosts * Rowan Hisayo Buchanan's passionate, gorgeously-written debut novel investigates harmlessness and harm, power and vulnerability, free will and fate. * ELLIS AVERY, author of The Family Tooth * HARMLESS LIKE YOU is the story of a mother and her son, but it is too an ode to the outsider, a Japanese-American artist who must also create her own, unprecedented identity in 1960s New York. Moving from Manhattan to Berlin, from the Vietnam War to the new millennium, Buchanan's debut explores the thin line between attachment and abandonment, love and pain, selfishness and sacrifice. With kaleidoscopic prose and characters all too human, HARMLESS LIKE YOU is an unforgettable debut, as rich in darkness and light as it is in color. * CHLOE BENJAMIN, author of The Anatomy of Dreams * This is a book I've been waiting for since before its author was born. And yet I could never have predicted it. It is a book about beauty and belonging, suffering and being lost, a book that takes into account history, the implications of separation and disorientation. Rowan Hisayo Buchanan cleaves to her idiosyncrasies, foregoing whitewash in favor of her ownglittering vision. She is the seer, not the seen. The result is a gift-unassuming, elegant, vividly prismatic. Not since Sigrid Nunez's A Feather on the Breath of God has a book shone such a moving light on multiracial, interracial, and transnational relationships. Regardless of your flesh tone, Rowan Hisayo Buchanan's study of color-its history, its strangeness, its allure, and its consequences - will dazzle you. * JENNIFER TSENG, author of Mayumi and the Sea of Happiness * A well written, unique and engrossing debut novel . . . a great achievement * The Bookbag ***** * Impressive debut . . . sensitively explores loneliness and the desire to belong against the need for freedom, both personal and artistic. * Bookseller, Editor's Pick * What a beautiful book. So measured and confident for a debut - really impressive stuff. The fine brushwork of a meticulous student of the human condition, set within the rich, widescreen drama of a bold and visionary storyteller. It's like staring at a stone at the bottom of a very clear, but slowly shifting, lake. An enchanting and deftly layered exploration of desire, self-identity and belonging. * EMMA JANE UNSWORTH * A serious, sad and beautifully written debut. * South China Morning Post * Rowan Hisayo Buchanan's debut is a beautifully textured novel. . . Yuki's story feels compellingly immediate, as prickly and unpredictable as its protagonist. * Washington Post * Buchanan's prose is visceral, startling and mind-bendingly gorgeous. . . .worth reading for the beauty and originality of the prose, for the questions Buchanan raises about art and heritage, and for the characters who are sometimes as maddening as they can be magnificent. * Boston Globe * Sublime - calm, profound, beautifully controlled and with startling splashes of colour. * CHRIS CLEAVE * Stylishly written . . . exceptional * Literary Review * Combines a wry, sardonic voice with an assured knack for comic set-pieces. * TLS * 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 . . will leave your heart hurting. * Sam Baker, The Pool * Harmless Like You is a refreshing, bold book about understatement. * Sunday Telegraph * 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 * This beautiful novel explores creativity and the complicated relationships between parents and children. * Psychologies * Lyrical and endearing * New York Times Book Review * 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 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 *