Greed, Lies, Love, and Murder
What’s Left of Me is Yours is an engrossing story of greed, lies, love, and murder. A must-read debut set in Japan in the 90s. Our thanks to the author and The Orion Publishing Group for the audiobook.
|Listening Length||10 hours and 57 minutes|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Release Date||UK: 21 April 2020 | US: 23 June 2020|
A gripping debut set in modern-day Tokyo and inspired by a true crime, What’s Left of Me Is Yours follows a young woman’s search for the truth about her mother’s life – and her murder.
In Japan, a covert industry has grown up around the wakaresaseya(literally “breaker-upper”), a person hired by one spouse to seduce the other in order to gain the advantage in divorce proceedings.
When Sato hires Kaitaro, a wakaresaseya agent, to have an affair with his wife, Rina, he assumes it will be an easy case. But Sato has never truly understood Rina or her desires and Kaitaro’s job is to do exactly that – until he does it too well.
While Rina remains ignorant of the circumstances that brought them together, she and Kaitaro fall in a desperate, singular love, setting in motion a series of violent acts that will forever haunt her daughter Sumiko’s life.
Told from alternating points of view and across the breathtaking landscapes of Japan, What’s Left of Me Is Yours explores the thorny psychological and moral grounds of the actions we take in the name of love, asking where we draw the line between passion and possession.
From the Publisher’s Blurb
I went out of my comfort zone with this book. I don’t usually read crime and mystery, but this story was too intriguing to miss.
It seems that the legal system in Japan is, or at least was in the 90s, very different from what we are used to in America.
For instance, in a divorce, only one of the parents was given full custody of the children. The other parent depended on the goodwill of the former spouse to ever see his/her offspring again.
In this scenario, determining the cause of the divorce and the party directly responsible for it was essential. Being found guilty could mean the loss of one’s children and the need to financially compensate the other party.
Wherever there is a need, there is a service to provide it.
Sumikko discovers, by accident, that her mother Nina did not die in a car crash twenty years ago. She was murdered by her lover, a man hired by Sumiko’s father to seduce her and provide grounds for an advantageous divorce.
The story is heartbreaking and yet full of love and emotion.
I loved how the author portrayed the intricacies of the characters’ relationships. How my feelings shifted as the story progressed.
This is a debut novel, but it does not read like one. It’s deep, well-written, soul-crushing, sometimes a bit overwhelming.
Loveless marriages, adultery, divorce, and the thin line between passionate love and uncontrolled possession are well dissected in this book.
The role of women in Japanese society is examined, highlighting the impossible choices they have to make in their quest for love and acceptance.
I’ve listened to the audiobook, and the narration was superb. The calm tone of voice is perfect for the story.
The descriptions of forensics and police questionings were made in a way that brought me into the room. I felt the tension, the despair, it was impressively engaging.
I also enjoyed the little trips to the Japanese coast, its delicious flavors, flowers, and ancient temples.
It was a fascinating journey into Japan, and it’s legal system. I highly recommend the audio version for a more immersive experience.
Overall, a great read!
Disclosure: I received an ARC of this audiobook in exchange for an honest review.
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About the Author
STEPHANIE SCOTT is a Singaporean and British writer who was born and raised in South East Asia. She read English Literature at the Universities of York and Cambridge and holds an M.St in Creative Writing from Oxford University.
Scott was awarded a British Association of Japanese Studies Toshiba Studentship for her anthropological work on What’s Left of Me Is Yours and has been made a member of the British Japanese Law Association as a result of her research.
She has also won the A.M. Heath Prize, the Jerwood Arvon Prize for Prose Fiction, and was runner up for the Bridport Prize Peggy Chapman-Andrews Award. What’s Left of Me Is Yours is her first novel.