This intriguing novel documents how the Woman in the Yellow Coat’s admiration for the Woman in the Purple Skirt gradually turns into a disturbing obsession.
Hiroshima-born Natsuko Imamura won the Akutagawa Prize, one of Japan’s most important literary awards, in 2019 for this fascinating novel about the nuances and evolutions of human relationships.
The Woman in Yellow Jacket, the novel’s narrator, commences an innocent pursuit to befriend the Woman in Purple Skirt, a woman oblivious to the rest of the world. The novel’s narrator likens The Woman in the Purple Skirt to her sister, who she has not seen for years.
This quick but captivating novel with only 104-pages is shaped by the narrator’s perception. As the pages progress, you wonder how such close stalking can be possible. The uncertainty will draw you in more and more.
“Some people would pretend they hadn’t seen her, and carry on as before. Others would quickly move aside, to give her room to pass. Some would pump their fists and look happy and hopeful. Others would do the opposite and look fearful and downcast.”Natsuko Imamura
We do not know anything about the Woman in Yellow Jacket, who is almost an invisible character in the book, until the last page. From time to time we doubt whether what she tells us is true or not. We only understand that the Woman in Purple Skirt is trying to direct her life. The events that develop with this guidance further increase the gripping effect of the novel.
“Oh! You scared me. How long have you been there, Gondo-san?” he says.
“I’ve been here all along”, she replies.The Woman in the Purple Skirt
A woman who is the center of attention of society and a woman who is not recognized by the same society have two common characteristics despite their differences: insecurity and loneliness. While the delicately woven tale has an unexpected ending, it reveals what a person can do in order not to get lost in the crowds of a uniform and ordinary modern life.
The Woman in the Purple Skirt
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