Longlisted for the 2016 Baileys’ Women’s Prize for Fiction
A Marie Claire Magazine Pick
A BookPage Top Pick in Debut Fiction for December 2015
A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding is a heart-wrenching debut novel of family, forgiveness, and the exquisite pain of love.
When Amaterasu Takahashi opens the door of her Philadelphia home to a badly scarred man claiming to be her grandson, she doesn’t believe him. Her grandson and her daughter, Yuko, perished nearly forty years ago during the bombing of Nagasaki. But the man carries with him a collection of sealed private letters that open a box of family secrets Ama had sworn to leave behind when she fled Japan. She is forced to confront her memories of the years before the war: of the daughter she tried too hard to protect and the love affair that would drive them apart, and even further back, to the long, sake-pouring nights at a hostess bar where Ama first learned that a soft heart was a dangerous thing. Will Ama allow herself to believe in a miracle?
“A mesmerizing, heart-wrenching story of love and regret, but ultimately, and most assuredly, the healing generosity of hope.”
Robin Oliveira, New York Times bestselling author
“Full of delicate imagery drawing on Japanese nature and culture, this is a rich, romantic story, brimming with restrained emotion—with a twist that will take your breath away. Superb.”
Daily Mirror (London)
“An absolute must. Gripping from the first page, you’ll not want to put it down…this is a superb literary launch.”
Marie Claire (UK)
“Memoirs of a Geisha meets The Piano Teacher, in the best way.”
InStyle magazine, a December Book Club Pick
“A well-crafted and lightly suspenseful tale of true and forbidden love and a wealth of secret revelations.
“A fully drawn portrait of a city and a life, this novel will hold appeal for history buffs, lovers of literary fiction, and readers of high-drama romance.”
“This is a beautiful, heart-wrenching story full of love and history.”
Historical Novels Review
“Extraordinary…Like Snow Falling on Cedars and The Reader, here is one of those rare life opportunities to look again at ourselves, and forgive our shameful past, achieved with striking style, an unflinching eye and through a clever narrative.”
Mary-Rose MacColl, author of In Falling Snow
Nancy Wu has narrated audiobooks since 2004. A New York theater, television, and film actor, she has recorded in studios all over the world—from Italy to Switzerland to Thailand. Her credits include Law & Order, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Hope & Faith, All My Children, Made for Each Other, and the Oscar-nominated film Frozen River.
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- Publisher: Blackstone Audio
- Genre: Fiction/Literary
- ISBN-13: 978-1-5046-5657-3