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Shortlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize 2017.
Shortlisted for The Authors' Club Best First Novel Award 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
WINNER OF THE 2017 AUTHOR'S CLUB FIRST NOVEL AWARD WINNER OF A BETTY TRASK AWARD SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2017 DESMOND ELLIOTT PRIZE 'Announces a startling talent' Guardian 'Stylishly written . . . exceptional' Literary Review 'This brilliant debut novel is cause for celebration' Lorrie Moore 'A refreshing, bold book' Sunday Telegraph 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. An unforgettable novel about the complexities of identity, art, adolescent friendships and familial bonds, offering a unique exploration of love, loneliness and reconciliation. LONGLISTED FOR THE 2016 JHALAK PRIZE SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2016 BOOKS ARE MY BAG BREAKTHROUGH AUTHOR AWARD 'Slick and intelligent' Stylist
|Publication date:||18th May 2017|
|Author:||Rowan Hisayo Buchanan|
|Publisher:||Sceptre an imprint of Hodder & Stoughton|
|Primary Genre||Modern and Contemporary Fiction|
Closing date: 30/06/2021
Rowan Hisayo Buchanan is a Japanese-British-Chinese-American writer. Her debut novel, Harmless Like You was published in 2016 by Sceptre and won the Author's Club First Novel Award and a Betty Trask award. It was also shortlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize, the Books Are My Bag Breakthrough Author Award and longlisted for the Jhalak Prize. Rowan Hisayo Buchanan was the recipient of a Margins fellowship for the Asian American Writers Workshop, has a BA from Columbia University, an MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and is currently working on a PhD at the University of East Anglia. Her writing has appeared ...More About Rowan Hisayo Buchanan