Harmless Like You

Harmless Like You

Book - 2017
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'"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 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 the mother who abandoned him when he was only two years old. The novel opens when Yuki is sixteen and her father is posted back to Japan. Though she and her family have been living as outsiders in New York City, Yuki opts to stay, intoxicated by her friendship with the beautiful aspiring model Odile, the energy of the city, and her desire to become an artist. But when she becomes involved with an older man and the relationship turns destructive, Yuki's life is unmoored. Harmless Like You is a suspenseful novel about the complexities of identity, art, adolescent friendships, and familial bonds, which asks--and ultimately answers--how does a mother desert her son?" -- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York :, W. W. Norton & Company,, 2017
Edition: First American edition
ISBN: 9781324000747
1324000740
Characteristics: 308 pages ; 22 cm

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JCLCherylMY May 02, 2017

This was a difficult novel for me because I never warmed to the two main characters, Yuki, the mother, and Jay, her son. I did like how the novel switched between the past and present, from Yuki's youth and choices, to Jay's present. Peppered with youth's folly, this novel begs the question: how does a mother leave her son? And answers: can a son forgive the abandonment? I plan to revisit the novel, maybe in audio form. Perhaps this will give me a better perspective in which to relate or draw a thread. Voices evoke empathy and can, sometimes, awaken locked memories. I will report back.

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