A True Novel (2013), written by Minae Mizumura and translated by Juliet Winters Carpenter, is a beautiful homage to Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights. But instead of placing this tragic story inspired by the Georgian classic on the Yorkshire moors, the author begins in 1960s New York, on Long Island. There she introduces the reader to her Heathcliff, Taro Azuma, an orphaned but ambitious Japanese immigrant who finds extraordinary wealth and success but pines for his Catherine, a girl from an affluent family who he can never completely have.
Mizumura continues her story in postwar Honshu, Japan, where the author probes the country’s westernization and the emergence of a middle class. It is a time of economic growth, but there is still a pall over the land. Mizumura has included herself in the cast of characters as an acquaintance of Taro.
This powerful and lengthy story by the winner of Japan’s prestigious Yomiuri Literature Prize is sure to make a profound impression.