The Japanese word gaijin means "unwelcome foreigner." It's not profanity, but is sometimes a slur directed at non-Japanese people in Japan. My novel is called Gaijin...
Lucy is a budding journalist at Northwestern University and she's obsessed with an exotic new student, Owen Ota, who becomes her lover and her sensei. When he disappears without explanation, she's devastated and sets out to find him. On her three-month quest across Japan she finds only snippets of the elegant culture Owen had described. Instead she faces anti-U.S. protests, menacing street thugs and sexist treatment, and she winds up at the base of Mt. Fuji, in the terrifying Suicide Forest. Will she ever find Owen? Will she be driven back to the U.S.? Gaijin is a coming-of-age story about a woman who solves a heartbreaking mystery that alters the trajectory of her life. My Review Lucy, a student from Illinois falls for a Japanese man, Owen. Lucy moves to Japan. In Japan, you stand out if you have blond hair. This book begins with a child's curiosity and focuses strongly on cultural perceptions and social rejection. The story has themes such as obsession, sexual assault, suicide, and the cluelessness of military life. Overall, I enjoyed the writing, especially, where the judge was startled and the courtroom silent. It's easy to see how this young woman, Lucy, chose to escape the subtropical heat and sit along a seawall- a place of quiet contemplation. It seems throughout life we react to the energy we put forth and we are often just scratching the surface. I received this book through the generosity of Anna Sacca, Senior Publicity Manager with FSB Associates.
About the Author
Sarah Z. Sleeper is an ex-journalist with an MFA in creative writing g. This is her first novel. Her short story, “A Few Innocuous Lines,” won an award from Writer’s Digest. Her non-fiction essay, “On Getting Vivian,” was published in The Shanghai Literary Review. Her poetry was published in A Year in Ink, San Diego Poetry Annual and Painters & Poets, and exhibited at the Bellarmine Museum. In the recent past she was an editor at New Rivers Press, and editor-in-chief of the literary journal Mason’s Road. She completed her MFA at Fairfield University in 2012. Prior to that she had a twenty-five-year career as a business writer and technology reporter and won three journalism awards and a fellowship at the National Press Foundation.