n her U.S. debut, popular Japanese author Yamada employs dialog and lengthy flashbacks to tell a disturbing and bleak tale of life in New York City. While handcuffed to a bed, young Koko reflects on her relationship with Rick, her black live-in lover; her inability to avoid a parental role with Rick's son; the messy lives of her friends; and her growing need to feel comfortable and safe in a treacherous society. In relating the breakup of Koko and Rick, Yamada hashes out the plight of females who need to be loved, alcoholics who self-destruct in their inability to change their existences, and children who want stability but get only fear and selfishness from adults. Strickly speaking, this is a difficult novel to read because even in hope there is despair. Additionally, the amoeba-like characters are incapable of focusing on anything but their own needs and problems.
I ordered this book because I love Japanese fiction. I think there were probably translation issues. As a writer, I found certin things in the style of this distracting and the characters shallow. I did like the main character though, but the others in the story were one dimensional. I wouldn't really recommend this.