The Perfect World of Miwako Sumida
A bewitching novel set in contemporary Japan about the mysterious suicide of a young woman.
Miwako Sumida is dead.
Now those closest to her try to piece together the fragments of her life. Ryusei, who has always loved her, follows Miwako’s trail to a remote Japanese village. Chie, Miwako’s best friend, was the only person to know her true identity — but is now the time to reveal it? Meanwhile, Fumi, Ryusei’s sister, is harbouring her own haunting secret.
Together, they realise that the young woman they thought they knew had more going on behind her seemingly perfect façade than they could ever have dreamed.
FROM THE AUTHOR
Hi, I’m Clarissa.
Thank you for picking up The Perfect World of Miwako Sumida.
I’m fascinated with the idea that often, we thought that we know a person really well, but actually, we don’t. How far would you go to uncover the truth? And what if the truth is more painful than the lies?
Those questions eventually led me to write The Perfect World of Miwako Sumida. It’s a story of how a young woman’s unexplained suicide shapes and transforms the lives of those she left behind. I usually describe the book as a literary mystery with elements of magical realism set in Japan, and a coming-of-age story masquerading as a murder mystery. The Perfect World of Miwako Sumida is my second novel. The book has been five years in the making and I couldn’t be more proud. Just like my debut novel, Rainbirds, this book features a collection of my favourite things. You’ll find a second-hand bookstore with no signage, beloved classic books, a whimsical cat that resembles maneki-neko, delicious Japanese comfort food, convenience stores, melancholic rainy days, and amidst them, small, everyday moments that dazzle me. In a way, I’m turning them into words with the hope of capturing these precious memories forever.
I hope you’ll enjoy reading The Perfect World of Miwako Sumida, as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it. And if you do, I’d be grateful if you could share it with others.
A compelling read.
At the heart this is book about secrets and friendships. There is something about an unexpected death that leaves those in the circle of friends and relations seeking to understand, seeking answers, seeking clues as to the “why?”. Goenawan tackles this subject delicately and quietly – I like the voice in this narrative. It is a sad story yet not morose. The back story is one …well that’s another secret and I won’t reveal that😊 But I will say it is very contemporary social issue that is sensitively illuminated and discussed.
To me this is a book in two parts. The before the trip the friends take to the village and the after. The “after” is a little mystical, or perhaps spiritual…depending on your outlook. Traditions and culture form the strength of the second part of the narrative and help resolve some areas of the story arc.
There is something about the quiet voice in this narrative that is so powerful and compelling. I did enjoy this read and hope you will too.
This sounds fascinating, Carol! The ‘why’ of a death is so important, especially to those left behind. I’m glad that’s explored here. And the culture aspects sound really interesting, too. Glad you enjoyed it.
A very illuminating read Margot
I agree! The voice was powerful and compelling. It was a hard one to put down, it really pulled me in.
Her first book was well received – I think this too will win awards
I’ll be looking for that first book. I really like the way she writes.
Let me know what you think of it if you get hold of it
I just bought it for $3 on Kindle! Hopefully I’ll read it soon.
My kindle expired and I’m not buying another at this point
I actually just bought one recently specifically to read NetGalley arcs on.