A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding

Author(s): Jackie Copleton


'What and how much should I admit to myself, and to others? Should I begin with this acknowledgement: my daughter Yuko might be alive today if I had loved her in a different way?'

When a badly scarred man knocks on the door of Amaterasu Takahashiâe(tm)s retirement home and says that he is her grandson, she doesnâe(tm)t believe him.

But if youâe(tm)ve become adept at lying, can you tell when someone is speaking the truth?Amaterasu knows her grandson and her daughter died the day the Americans dropped the atomic bomb on Nagasaki; she searched for them amongst the ruins of her devastated city and has spent years burying her memories of that brutal summer. So this man is either a miracle or a cruel trick.

The stranger forces Amaterasu to revisit her past; the hurt and humiliation of her early life, the intoxication of a first romance, the fierceness of a motherâe(tm)s love. For years she has held on to the idea that she did what she had to do to protect her familyâe¦ but now nothing seems so certain.

We canâe(tm)t rewrite history, but can we create a new future?

Set against the dramatic backdrop of Nagasaki before and after the bomb, A DICTIONARY OF MUTUAL UNDERSTANDING is about regret, forgiveness and the exquisite pain of love.


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Can the strength of a mother's love heal the wounds of the past? An unforgettable and moving debut which featured in the summer BBC Radio 2 Book Club.

Baileys Longlist 2016

"Memoirs of a Geisha meets The Piano Teacher, in the best way." InStyle "Astonishingly accomplished debut ... the graceful style and clarity of her writing make this an addictive read." -- MUST READS Daily Mail "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." Sunday Mirror "Like Snow Falling on Cedars and The Reader, here is one of those rare life opportunities to look again at ourselves, and forgive, achieved with striking style, an unflinching eye and through a clever narrative. Brava Jackie Copleton." -- Mary-Rose Maccoll, author of IN FALLING SNOW "An exceptional tale of a family in crisis ... at once intimate and sweeping, profoundly subtle and yet remarkably affecting, the story reminds the reader that public catastrophe interrupts myriad smaller, but no less devastating, private troubles, magnifying their consequences and obstructing their resolution. This is a mesmerizing, heart-wrenching story of love and regret, but ultimately, and most assuredly, the healing generosity of hope. I couldn't put it down. I read the end on an airplane, and had to hide my tears from the other passengers." -- ."-Robin Oliveira, New York Times bestselling author of MY NAME IS MARY SUTTER

Jackie Copleton lived in Nagasaki and Sapporo where she taught English before returning to England and becoming a journalist. This is her first novel.

General Fields

  • : 9780099592471
  • : Cornerstone
  • : Windmill Books
  • : February 2016
  • : United Kingdom
  • : July 2016
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Jackie Copleton
  • : Paperback
  • : en
  • : 823.92
  • : 304