A gripping debut set in modern-day Tokyo and inspired by a true crime, What’s Left of Me Is Yours follows a young woman’s search for the truth about her mother’s life – and her murder.
In Japan, a covert industry has grown up around the wakaresaseya (literally “breaker-upper”), a person hired by one spouse to seduce the other in order to gain the advantage in divorce proceedings.
When Sato hires Kaitaro, a wakaresaseya agent, to have an affair with his wife, Rina, he assumes it will be an easy case. But Sato has never truly understood Rina or her desires and Kaitaro’s job is to do exactly that – until he does it too well.
While Rina remains ignorant of the circumstances that brought them together, she and Kaitaro fall in a desperate, singular love, setting in motion a series of violent acts that will forever haunt her daughter Sumiko’s life.
Told from alternating points of view and across the breathtaking landscapes of Japan, What’s Left of Me Is Yours explores the thorny psychological and moral grounds of the actions we take in the name of love, asking where we draw the line between passion and possession.
What’s Left Of Me Is Yours was a fascinating and compelling read that allowed me to plunge headlong into the intricacies of Japanese culture. This novel allowed me to escape into a dreamlike, immersive and mysterious world, far away from my busy reality of teaching in a hectic secondary school. I was mesmerised by some of the descriptions of this mysterious and fascinating setting , and at times found it quite difficult to tear myself away and come back to reality. Thanks so much to Anne Cater for inviting me onto the Blogtour – as ever, your taste is impeccable!
The atmosphere of secrecy and drama is perfectly maintained throughout this wonderful novel; the Japanese setting was intriguing and made me browse online travel sites as soon as I finished reading this intriguing and fascinating tale as I wanted to see some of these sights for myself. Staphanie Scott manages to make the setting as compelling and ‘present’ as her main characters. Even though I was reading it in Scotland in a rainy April Sunday I felt Japan come to life as I walked in the footsteps of these characters and experienced these macabre and disturbing events right alongside them. The fact that this was based on a real crime was something that I absolutely loved and it is all the more fascinating to read this novel, reflecting that truth can indeed be stranger than fiction….
Stephanie Scott is definitely a talented voice who draws the reader into these characters’ world and makes them live for us as we read; lives which are are all the more powerful due to their unlikely and contrasting pairing. I was also drawn into exploring the real life disappearaance of British Traveller Lucie Blackman after reading this book and if you enjoyed this book, I’m sure you’d love People Who Eat Darkness too – which is a non-fiction exploration of this case.
Sumiko’s quest for the truth about her mother’s absence contrasting with the other voices – of Rina and Kaitarō – is a stroke of genius as it allows us to experience the relationship between her parents and the disappearance from the perspective of an insider and an outsider at the same time. I really felt captivated by this atmospheric blend of deft characterization with a real sense of place . So many questions flood our minds as we are drawn into this web – and we experience it with Sumiko in a hall of mirrors with the truth being distorted and reflected back to her in so many contrasting ways.
I can see this being a novel that I’ll be begging other people to read. It would make a really gripping and provocative book group choice as I feel that it could promote really interesting discussions about the way that setting can draw you in, the way we are drawn into a case like this whilst witnessing a totally different cultural stance at the same time – a culture which I really didn’t know much about. I was totally engrossed from start to finish and could not go to sleep until I’d finished. There ’s a dreamlike atmosphere that pervades this book and it really captured my imagination – Buy yourself a copy here and immerse yourself in this absorbing and unique world.
This is a hugely satisfying and moreish read that utterly held me in its spell As well as creating such lifelike characters, it also gives the reader a real insight into Japanese culture and its complexe legal system. It draws you in in a very unique way as you try and put all the pieces of this tragic and unusual case together to try and find the truth. This is a very thought-provoking and beautifuly written novel that I just can’t put out of my mind; My only advice to you is that you’ll have to read it for yourself. I can’t wait to see what Stephanie Scott does next and after reading it, I’m definitely keen on travelling to Japan for myself after this lockdown is over and we are free to travel again.
Writer On The Shelf
Stephanie Scott is a Singaporean-British writer who was born and raised in South East Asia. She read English Literature at the Universities of York and Cambridge and holds an M.St in Creative Writing from Oxford University.
She was awarded a British Association of Japanese Studies Toshiba Studentship for her anthropological work on What’s Left of Me is Yours and has been made a member of the British Japanese Law Association as a result of her research.
She has won the A.M. Heath Prize, the Jerwood Arvon Prize for Prose Fiction, and runner up in the Bridport Prize Peggy Chapman-Andrews First Novel Award for an early draft of the manuscript. What’s Left of Me is Yours is her first novel.
Praise for its wonderful book:
I loved What’s Left of Me Is Yours. Gripping, heartbreaking, immersive. I read it with my heart in my throat., Sara Collins, author of THE CONFESSIONS OF FRANNIE LANGTON
A brilliant debut., Louise Doughty, #1 bestselling author of APPLE TREE YARD and PLATFORM SEVEN
Dark, addictive and eye-opening, this is a brilliant debut., Stylist, Best Books April 2020
Inspired by a real life situation, this spellbinding story set against the marriage break-up industry in Japan has devastating consequences you almost forget about, so immersed are you in the character’s lives… An exquisitely crafted masterpiece you’ll be pressing into the hands of others., Woman & Home
Exhilarating… Byzantine subplots, distinctive characters, and atmospheric settings will leave readers spellbound., Publisher Weekly
Scott deftly spins a web through modern day Tokyo in this captivating dual-perspective rendering of a young woman determined to find out the truth behind her mother’s murder., Newsweek
Scott poignantly evokes both a mother trapped by the choices made for her and a daughter learning to deal with her own precarious freedom. She clearly defines the unfortunate effects of the traditional Japanese legal system on women, and with carefully accumulated details describes a Japan both physically and psychologically teetering on the edge of change., Booklist
Remember that new-discovery, time-stopping, every-moment-is-magical kind of love? That’s what it felt like to read this novel. Then limerence turns to passion which leads to tragedy and suddenly this book is impossible to put down as you speed toward a conclusion that is as surprising as it is satisfying., Jamie Ford, New York Times bestselling author of HOTEL ON THE CORNER OF BITTER AND SWEET