Shiraishi’s first novel in English language translation, Me Against the World, published last year, was a critical triumph, getting numerous positive reviews from readers and critics including Words Without Borders and The Japan Times, which ranked the book amongst the best 10 published in 2016.
This latest novel, which has not yet been released, also published by the American publisher Dalkey Archive Press, is already gaining attention and extremely positive feedback from reviewers. The Part of Me That Isn’t Broken Inside is “exceptionally well done”… “I can see why it was such a big success in Japan”… “it’s the most satisfying novel I’ve read in quite some time”, according to Michael Orthofe, founder of the Complete Review, a highly regarded literary website that has been publishing reviews since 1999.
The Part of Me That Isn’t Broken Inside was published in Japanese in 2002 helping establish Shiraishi’s literary reputation in Japan. It was a major commercial success in Japan and a bestseller, selling hundreds of thousands of copies. After its publication Shiraishi went on to win the Yamamoto Shugoro Prize and the Naoki Prize, two important Japanese literary awards. The Part of Me That Isn’t Broken Inside has also been published in South Korea, China and Taiwan.
Naoto Matsubara works in a Tokyo publishing house, though the work doesn’t particularly interest him. What does interest him, we soon discover, is the purpose of life. Naoto ponders the powers of love, attachment, and mutual care by examining closely his own friends and lovers, searching out how exactly his connection to them confers meaning on his life. Along the way, Naoto also draws on the thought of many writers and philosophers, including Tolstoy, Fromm, and Mishima.
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