Set in Japan in the run-up to Pearl Harbour, the mesmerising tale of a young man forced to make life-changing decisions, by one of the most highly acclaimed British writers.
Tokyo, 1940. While Japan's war against China escalates, young Yuji Takano clings to his cocooned life: his beloved evenings of French conversation at Monsieur Feneon's, visits to the bathhouse with friends, his books, his poetry.
But conscription looms and the mood turns against foreigners, just when Yuji gets entangled with Feneon's daughter. As the nation heads towards conflict with the Allies, Yuji must decide where his duty - and his heart - lie.
[Yuji] is a character so well realised as to engage all of our sympathies - Peter Carty, Independent
A revelatory perspective on an Eastern city in the second world war . . .The prose is as delicate as a Japanese print - David Grylls, Sunday Times
Not only does he combine delicious literary conceits with thought-provoking explorations into the human condition, he has the rare gift of tossing out perfect sentences that make you stop in your tracks - Claire Allfree, Metro
Miller's delicate prose most closely recalls the tone of emotional restraint in Kazuo Ishiguro's early novels . . . Crisply defined characters offer a foil to Yuji's progressive ruminations, which Miller deftly coheres into a typically bittersweet resolution. - James Urquhart, Independent on Sunday
The frank simplicity of Miller's prose, and his search for truth in the reality of the quotidian feels (to this Western reader) convincingly Japanese. Miller places his words and plot developments carefully, like the smooth grey pebbles of a Zen garden, with all but the most essential adjectives weathered away. There are moments of beauty, truth and irony. - Helen Brown, Daily Telegraph
Deeply moving, written with loving attention to language, it felt like Pasternak back from the dead. - Tom Adair, Scotsman
'Detail by delicate detail Miller conjures Yuji's dim, mysterious world of gradual dissolution." - Natalie Sandison, The Times
Miller's Japanese characters are densely believable, and his recreation of their world is a real achievement - Christopher Tayler, Guardian
Andrew Miller's first novel, Ingenious Pain, was published by Sceptre in 1997. It won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and the Grinzane Cavour Prize for the best foreign novel published in Italy. It has been followed by Casanova, Oxygen, which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and the Whitbread Novel of the Year Award in 2001, The Optimists, One Morning Like a Bird, Pure, which won the Costa Book of the Year Award 2011, The Crossing, Now We Shall Be Entirely Free and The Slowworm's Song.
Andrew Miller's novels have been published in translation in twenty countries. Born in Bristol in 1960, he currently lives in Somerset.