What's Left of Me Is Yours
A gripping debut set in modern-day Tokyo and inspired by a true crime, for readers of Everything I Never Told You and The Perfect Nanny, What's Left of Me Is Yours charts 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 Satō hires Kaitarō, a wakaresaseya agent, to have an affair with his wife, Rina, he assumes it will be an easy case. But Satō has never truly understood Rina or her desires and Kaitarō'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 Kaitarō fall in a desperate, singular love, setting in motion a series of violent acts that will forever haunt her daughter's life.Told from alternating points of view and across the breathtaking landscapes of Japan, Stephanie Scott exquisitely renders the affair and its intricate repercussions. As Rina's daughter, Sumiko, fills in the gaps of her mother's story and her own memory, Scott probes 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.

What's Left of Me Is Yours Details

TitleWhat's Left of Me Is Yours
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJun 23rd, 2020
PublisherDoubleday Books
ISBN-139780385544702
Rating
GenreFiction, Thriller, Mystery, Romance, Mystery Thriller

What's Left of Me Is Yours Review

  • Paromjit
    January 1, 1970
    Stephanie Scott's literary debut is confidently assured and stunning, drawing its inspiration from a real life crime, a heart breaking blend of fact and fiction, immersing the reader in 1990s and contemporary Japan. Scott's research of Japanese society and culture is impeccable, portrayed with subtlety and nuance, in its keen observations and insights, an absolute necessity if the reader is unaware of its marked differences from our world, with its seemingly rigid constraints and limitations. Stephanie Scott's literary debut is confidently assured and stunning, drawing its inspiration from a real life crime, a heart breaking blend of fact and fiction, immersing the reader in 1990s and contemporary Japan. Scott's research of Japanese society and culture is impeccable, portrayed with subtlety and nuance, in its keen observations and insights, an absolute necessity if the reader is unaware of its marked differences from our world, with its seemingly rigid constraints and limitations. With poetic and lyrical prose, Scott atmospherically and vividly evokes the Japanese landscape and the city of Tokyo which is a central character in its own right in this depiction of the tragic and explosive ramifications of a love affair that is at once everything yet inherently doomed.In a long term marriage, Osamu Satu is a disillusioned and unhappy man looking to extricate himself and divorce his wife, Rina. To gain the upper hand in the divorce proceedings, in a country where divorce is still a blame game, rooted in guilt and harsh custody arrangements, he decides to make use of the below the radar industry of 'wakanesaseya' a strange cultural practice of hiring someone to seduce your marriage partner. He employs Kaitaro Nakamura to seduce Rina, an act that will tear the family apart and ruin their future with the repercussions that follow. Kaitaro sees and understands Rina intuitively in a way Satu had been unable to do in all the years he had known Rina. Unaware of the machinations that lie behind Kaitaro's presence, Rina becomes aware of all that she is, she and Kaitaro succumb to and embark on a love affair that breaks all the rules, emotions are not so easily ordered or controlled, inexorably leading to murder. Decades later, Rina's lawyer daughter, Sumiko, answers a fateful phone call that reveals family secrets and brings cascading down all that she knew of herself, turning to ashes all she believed was her family history. In a narrative that shifts from past to present, Sumiko sets out to discover who her mother was, what happened to her, the nature of the Japanese legal and justice system, the truth and anatomy of a passionate and revelatory love and all that followed in its wake. Scott's artful and considered storytelling hones into the heart and belly of Japanese culture and society, its norms and attitudes, the position of women, family, justice, ethics and morality, the underlying cultural acceptance of what is. This is a beautiful, moving, captivating, thought provoking and devastating story of love, loss, grief, marriage, family, deception and betrayal that I have no hesitation in recommending highly. Many thanks to Orion for an ARC.
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  • Elle
    January 1, 1970
    A story of love and betrayal, heres another novel that doesnt fit cleanly into one genre. Inspired by a real crime, Whats Left of Me Is Yours is a mystery where we already know the killer, a romance that sours and a family drama located in the heart of Tokyo. I had no knowledge of the wakaresaseya profession before beginning, but trust that Stephanie Scott is an expert not only in the real case that inspired the book, but seemingly the entire Japanese legal system as well.I really have to take a A story of love and betrayal, here’s another novel that doesn’t fit cleanly into one genre. Inspired by a real crime, What’s Left of Me Is Yours is a mystery where we already know the killer, a romance that sours and a family drama located in the heart of Tokyo. I had no knowledge of the ‘wakaresaseya’ profession before beginning, but trust that Stephanie Scott is an expert not only in the real case that inspired the book, but seemingly the entire Japanese legal system as well.I really have to take a moment to mention how different Japan’s criminal justice process is from our own. I mean, one of the biggest flaws in the American system is how inconsistently people are treated across the board. In Japan they seem to have the inverse problem, preventing discrimination through absolutes and rigidity. It’s all obviously a lot more nuanced than that, and as someone who’s really only vaguely familiar with one set of national laws, I’m not really equipped to dissect those intricacies. But from this perspective I can’t really wrap my head around some of the tenants in Japanese law. Basically if I ever get arrested in Japan, I’ll have to call Scott to bail me out.This novel moves quietly, but with enormous intent. I almost felt as though I was reading two different books simultaneously, which in a way I was. The story of Rina and Kaitarō is a slow burn that we already know ends in tragedy. It’s suspenseful not just because of its grisly outcome, but because of the precariousness of their budding relationship. There’s a muted menace waiting just around the corner of every romantic outing or forbidden tryst, even if it’s not referred to directly. In present day, Rina’s daughter Sumiko is unraveling the mystery of her mother’s death. It’s not that the details are unknown to authorities, they’re just out of reach for her. While not your typical ‘thriller’, the tension as both narratives slowly find their way towards one another makes for plenty of revelations.It’s fascinating and shrewd. Well-paced, but definitely a slow-burn. These are some of my favorite kinds of books to read, but I always get nervous they’ll be misunderstood by a reader who’s going by a 5-word blurb. I’d recommend taking your time while reading this one; enjoy the scenes Scott paints of both metropolitan and rural Japan so artfully. There’s plenty to appreciate here, and I really loved having somewhere to travel to while being stuck indoors during this quarantine.*Thanks to Doubleday Books & Netgalley for an advance copy!
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  • Fiona Mitchell
    January 1, 1970
    This graceful and evocative novel, told in two time frames, transports you all the way to modern-day Tokyo. In the present, we meet Rinas daughter Sumiko who, when she is on the cusp of qualifying as a lawyer, gets a phone call from the Prison Service about an inmate called Kaitarō who is somehow connected to her mother Rina. Sumiko has always believed that her mother died in a car accident, but now everything she knew about her family is about to fall apart.The past charts the growing love This graceful and evocative novel, told in two time frames, transports you all the way to modern-day Tokyo. In the present, we meet Rina’s daughter Sumiko who, when she is on the cusp of qualifying as a lawyer, gets a phone call from the Prison Service about an inmate called Kaitarō who is somehow connected to her mother Rina. Sumiko has always believed that her mother died in a car accident, but now everything she knew about her family is about to fall apart.The past charts the growing love affair between the married, photography-loving Rina and the troubled Kaitarō. There are several Japanese words to describe love, but surely none of them can capture the intense love between Kaitarō and Rina. Kaitarō is a ‘wakaresaseya’ - a ‘breaker-upper’, a man who has been hired by Rina’s husband Satō to seduce Rina in order to gain the advantage in divorce proceedings. Rina knows nothing about Kaitarō’s ‘honey trap’ credentials and as their affair deepens, Kaitarō wants to keep it that way. As the love affair develops in the past, in the present Sumiko goes to great lengths to find out just what happened to her mother all those years ago.What results is a compelling and sophisticated love story where all the beauty that we see - think ikebana, Shinto shrines, misty beaches and delicious arrays of cakes - belies Rina’s brutal murder. This meticulously researched novel demands to be read slowly so that you can appreciate the many exquisite details of Japanese culture that its pages contain. It is tragically beautiful, sensuous and haunting, and ultimately redemptive. A stunning debut.
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  • Louise Beech
    January 1, 1970
    A beautiful, beautiful book that defies genre - and my words. There is a crime. There is betrayal. There is love. There is history. This is truly an epic, meticulously and lovingly researched, with such exquisite description and detail that I read the same lines over, many times. There are thought-provoking observations, unforgettable characters, and heart-breaking decisions that set in motion catastrophic events. I will not forget this book for a long time.
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  • Shannon A
    January 1, 1970
    How do I write a review for a book that is so descriptive and beautiful that it seems to have been an opera whispered? This story is so meticulous researched that you forget that this a novel; a story of a family and love so masterfully woven you forget the crime. A stunning debut of the many shades of love & how the best of lies are told nearest to truth.
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  • Lu
    January 1, 1970
    Greed, Lies, Love, and Murder. Whats 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.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. 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.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 character's 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 examined and 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 was 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.Great read!Disclosure: I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Lou
    January 1, 1970
    What's Left of Me is Yours, Stephanie Scotts multiple award-winning debut novel, is a triumph of a story set against the metropolis of Tokyo, Japan and which shines a light on the peculiar industry that has sprung up in relation to those in struggling marriages as well as the way marriage struggles and impending divorce is perceived in Asia. Inspired by a fascinating true crime awe of murder, Scott masterfully crafts a devastatingly deft fact-meets-fiction epic that barges its way into your What's Left of Me is Yours, Stephanie Scott’s multiple award-winning debut novel, is a triumph of a story set against the metropolis of Tokyo, Japan and which shines a light on the peculiar industry that has sprung up in relation to those in struggling marriages as well as the way marriage struggles and impending divorce is perceived in Asia. Inspired by a fascinating true crime awe of murder, Scott masterfully crafts a devastatingly deft fact-meets-fiction epic that barges its way into your heart and mind and has you racing through its pages feverishly. The plot centres around Osamu Satō a long-married man who has grown increasingly disillusioned with his marriage, and as a consequence, pays a fee to Kaitarō Nakamura in order to seduce his wife, Rina, making it easier to demonise her for participation in adultery her in front of the courts when applying for a divorce. But you know what they say about the best laid plans.This is a compelling, gripping and exquisitely lyrical story and from the opening pages it captured my attention and I raced through it despite my attempts to savour it as best I could. It's a beautifully crafted tour-de-force that I am sure will be in my top ten reads of 2020 at the end of the year. The cast of characters were engaging and intriguing but the main character was really the Tokyo setting which suited me perfectly as a Japanophile; the locations leapt from the pages and I learned many more fascinating anecdotes about Japanese culture, especially the regard marriage is held in in society and interesting information about the criminal justice process. Ms Scott is a huge new talent and this is a pure, indulgent and thoroughly accomplished page-turner that'll appeal to a wide range of readers. I am excited for her future endeavours. Unreservedly recommended. Many thanks to W&N for an ARC.
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  • Madeline
    January 1, 1970
    Review to come! But I really enjoyed this one. Definitely recommend. :)-What's Left of Me Is Yours is a slow-burning mystery, coming-of-age story, and an examination of love and family. We follow Sumiko as she searches to discover more about her mother, Rina, and how she died. What she uncovers is an unexpected story of love and pain, one that split her family apart. Sumiko has to decide how she will live with what she uncoverswhether she follows in the footsteps of her family, or forges her own Review to come! But I really enjoyed this one. Definitely recommend. :)-What's Left of Me Is Yours is a slow-burning mystery, coming-of-age story, and an examination of love and family. We follow Sumiko as she searches to discover more about her mother, Rina, and how she died. What she uncovers is an unexpected story of love and pain, one that split her family apart. Sumiko has to decide how she will live with what she uncovers—whether she follows in the footsteps of her family, or forges her own path.Scott's writing is beautiful. There are many sentences that I stopped to underline. While she is great at describing actions and settings in unique, eye-catching ways, I think she excels at capturing the subtleties of thought and emotion. A lot of this hinges on Scott's understanding of Japanese language, and the nuances to certain words and feelings. Sumiko's observations on different ideas and variations in language created many poetic moments where I had to pause and contemplate these ideas myself. Of course, another key aspect of this novel is the questionable morality surrounding how Sumiko's mother died, and the man who killed her. While this acion may have been black and white in the eyes of the law (also expertly dissected in this book—it is clear Scott has done her research), Sumiko must come to terms with how she will understand her history for herself. I admired how vulnerable she let herself be, while also being able to stand up for herself and her interpretation of events, even in the face of considerable family pressure. There are many important questions brought up about family, loyalty, right and wrong, and forgiveness.This story is also a love story. We get to learn of Rina's past and the affair that led to her death from the very beginning of the book, and man, is it a complicated story. But Scott weaves together multiple storylines so well, and I loved learning about Rina as an individual with passion, ambitions and dreams. Instead of creating an amorphous victim, Scott gives life to Rina, along with her murderer, and we see the beautiful life that they lived together before it all spiraled out of control. While this crime is one that is not blameless, it was very interesting to learn the backstory and gain a more full understanding of what happened.This is a well-rounded, heartfelt debut that I absolutely fell in love with! I am so so excited to see what Scott comes up with in the future. If you're looking for a thriller, mystery, family saga, or coming of age story, this one checks off all of those boxes! It is such a unique gem.
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  • Roman Clodia
    January 1, 1970
    This is a beautifully written but rather slight novel about the consequences of passion and long-held family secrets. What lifts it above many books in the same space is the elegant precision of the writing, and the insight into modern Japanese culture. The structure of a daughter reconstructing her mother's life is very familiar, but the relationship at the heart of the book is rendered with a visceral sense of bodies. Nicely done but not a book to linger in my mind once read.TheARC from This is a beautifully written but rather slight novel about the consequences of passion and long-held family secrets. What lifts it above many books in the same space is the elegant precision of the writing, and the insight into modern Japanese culture. The structure of a daughter reconstructing her mother's life is very familiar, but the relationship at the heart of the book is rendered with a visceral sense of bodies. Nicely done but not a book to linger in my mind once read.TheARC from NetGalley
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  • Katie Khan
    January 1, 1970
    In my quest to recommend great, escapist books during lockdown (along with pictures of my cat on Instagram), this new novel is published this week available now in hardback and ebook (and in the USA soon): What's Left of Me Is Yours by Stephanie Scott. I read about Stephanies book deal a year or more ago, found her on social media, and told her how exciting I thought her premise was... This year Stephanie was chosen as one of the Observers top debuts to watch out for, and the novel has received In my quest to recommend great, escapist books during lockdown (along with pictures of my cat on Instagram), this new novel is published this week — available now in hardback and ebook (and in the USA soon): What's Left of Me Is Yours by Stephanie Scott. I read about Stephanie’s book deal a year or more ago, found her on social media, and told her how exciting I thought her premise was... This year Stephanie was chosen as one of the Observer’s top debuts to watch out for, and the novel has received praise from incredible authors, so I stand by my choices!Set in the true dystopia of the Japanese marriage break-up industry (featuring wakaresaseya agents hired by husbands and wives to seduce their own spouses) and based on a true crime, What's Left of Me Is Yours is a gripping story with lush, literary writing and meticulous research. The novel features a crime, a mystery, and a daughter searching for her mother’s truth — but ultimately, this is a heartbreaking novel about love.I’d put it on my shelf next to Everything I Never Told You, How We Disappeared, and dual-timeline stories with multiple POVs piecing together what happened in the past — but honestly, I’ve never read anything like it ✨ Out now
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  • Maybe Nancy Reads
    January 1, 1970
    In Japan, there is a person known as a "wakaresaseya" - literally known as a breaker-upper, who can be hired by spouse to seduce the other and therefore gain advantage in a divorce. When Osamu Sato hires wakaresareya Kaitaro to seduce his wife Rina, he has no idea what he has set in motion. Kaitaro and Rina fall in love and Rina remains unaware of the circumstances of their meeting. Told in alternating views of Rina in the past and her present now-grown daughter Sumiko, the story unfolds as In Japan, there is a person known as a "wakaresaseya" - literally known as a breaker-upper, who can be hired by spouse to seduce the other and therefore gain advantage in a divorce. When Osamu Sato hires wakaresareya Kaitaro to seduce his wife Rina, he has no idea what he has set in motion. Kaitaro and Rina fall in love and Rina remains unaware of the circumstances of their meeting. Told in alternating views of Rina in the past and her present now-grown daughter Sumiko, the story unfolds as everyone is forced to deal with the repercussions of their affair.This book is beautifully written. The author explains that a newspaper article sparked the idea for the story, while the actual book is fiction. Sumiko receives a strange phone call that causes her to re-examine everything she'd been told about her mother's death and the man who killed her. As she researches, she finds that there are obstacles at every turn. Both a love story and mystery, I also found it quite interesting how Scott explains the Japanese legal system. I received an advance copy of this book from Doubleday Books. Available April 21, 2020.
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  • Egle (readingfreakquotes)
    January 1, 1970
    According to synopsis this book was inspired by true crime in Japan, but it's hard to say how much of this fictional story relate to true facts and how much was a pure fiction.However it is very insightful and detailed debut novel and author had done an amazing job on her research. I always found Japanese culture fascinating and interesting and this book was a real treat for me with all these cultural facts and stories about Japanese way of living.The story is told from the multiple POV's which According to synopsis this book was inspired by true crime in Japan, but it's hard to say how much of this fictional story relate to true facts and how much was a pure fiction.However it is very insightful and detailed debut novel and author had done an amazing job on her research. I always found Japanese culture fascinating and interesting and this book was a real treat for me with all these cultural facts and stories about Japanese way of living.The story is told from the multiple POV's which I don't particularly like in the books, but Stephanie Scott done a great job in writing the story this way because it allowed the reader to see different perspectives to the events that happened to the characters and the depth of affect it had on each of them, which I thought gave a story an extra layer of emotions and feelings. I didn't like the story been told in a mixture of past and present perspectives, while it wasn't overly difficult to understand whether it was a present or a past, I found it a bit distracting and annoying as it always took several minutes to figure out what was what. I think the simply writing present (now) or past (then) beside the each paragraph title could've helped to avoid that confusion and increase the enjoyment of the story.Overall this is a beautifully told family story, dramatic, shocking and unfortunately sad. I cannot understand why one of the main character's had to do what he's done and until the very last moment I was hoping there was going to be a mistake or some sort of self-sacrifice action but unfortunately I was wrong. I don't feel that his actions suited his protagonist's character at all. I found him caring and loving and not at all the way the author pictured him at the culmination of the events. But again this is inspired by true crime and maybe this is how it happened in real life and author decided to leave it the same way in her novel. If this part was complete fiction then I'm not a fan of it because in I my personal opinion that particular character's personality wasn't developed properly.If you like cultural fiction, if mystery and crime is your story to go to I'm sure you would enjoy this book.I received an ARC from Netgalley in return for my honest review. I'm rating this story 4* because:* author done an enormous research work writing this book and I could feel that throughout the book* this is my first ever crime/thriller/mystery type of story I read and I don't have any other similar stories to compare it to to make my fair judgement * I didn't particularly liked the ending * author has a beautiful story telling and writing skills
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  • Wiz
    January 1, 1970
    There is a supremely compelling grace to the opening pages of Whats Left of Me is Yours, the debut novel by Singaporean/British author Stephanie Scott. Set in Tokyos recent past and based on a true crime event it augers both a mystery and a tragic love story, revolving around the wakaresaseya or marriage break-up industry which has since escaped its previous underworld associations to become a recognised enterprise in modern-day Japan. The raison-detre of the wakaresaseya is simple: for a fee a There is a supremely compelling grace to the opening pages of What’s Left of Me is Yours, the debut novel by Singaporean/British author Stephanie Scott. Set in Tokyo’s recent past and based on a true crime event it augers both a mystery and a tragic love story, revolving around the wakaresaseya or marriage break-up industry which has since escaped its previous underworld associations to become a recognised enterprise in modern-day Japan. The raison-d’etre of the wakaresaseya is simple: for a fee a spouse can hire an agent to seduce their marriage partner with a view to providing legally advantageous ground in subsequent divorce proceedings.When Kaitaro Nakamura, a wakaresaseya agent, is hired by a man to seduce his wife Rina it seems like just another job. But then Rina and Kaitaro fall in love. Why, then, at the novel’s start is Kaitaro in prison, accused of Rina’s murder? Twenty years after the fact, Rina’s surviving daughter, Sumiko, recently qualified at the Tokyo Bar, decides to find out what really happened.Whilst the quest for truth and justice is an established theme in literature, Scott’s novel is elevated above the usual by its assiduous attention to both the landscape and anthropology of the culture she chooses to inhabit. It is no accident that Sumiko is a solicitor, for the machinations of the Japanese courts are something which the novel deals with in detail as she fights to make sense not only of her mother’s death, but of the subsequent trial and punishment which ensues. The concept of Justice, however, is a movable feast, and by the end of the novel the reader, along with Sumiko, is forced to question their initial instincts about its morality. This is a contemplative, rather than a fast-paced novel, with much of its page time dedicated to the evolution of the relationship between Kaitaro and Rina. As much as the genesis of their love affair reveals the fallacy of chance, however, so too are we asked to consider the presence of it in our everyday lives: the accident of a phone call that first sets Sumiko on her quest; the possibility that our soulmate resides in the wrong place at the wrong time in our history; the accident of our birth which determines who and why we marry within the prescription of our culture.Conversely, however, we are also asked to consider urgent questions about our own agency: the ambiguous boundaries we draw for ourselves when faced with threats to our entitlement, our pride, our freedom; the psychological damage caused by the sense that we have become “forgotten people”. Even within the canon of Oriental literature this is a unique culture with its own unique traditions and judicial system. People Who Eat Darkness, Richard Lloyd Parry’s account of the Lucie Blackman trial (and which Scott cites as a reference in her acknowledgements) shows us that Japan is a country unlike any other when it comes to laws and expectations.Indeed, if there is a fault to be found in the novel, it is that Scott does not always wear her considerable (and assiduous) research lightly. Though never less than interesting, her long paragraphs on the topology of Japan, or the intricacies of legalese and the workings of the judicial system sometimes threaten to slow the pace of the story too much, and it would have been preferable to have had these latter passages interwoven into action or dialogue between characters rather than presented introspectively.If this is a criticism it is a small one, thrown into relief by the beauty of Scott’s writing elsewhere in the novel. There is a balleticism to her prose, the observations of a character captured in moments of movement or stillness that are occasionally breathtakingly visual. Cleverly, these are often the movements that are also captured through the lens of Rina or Kaitaro’s cameras, and which subsequently form the basis of permanent memories, for good or ill in the novel. Of all the book’s considerable merits, however, what both impressed and captivated me the most was its tone: a resigned sort of stoicism, or sadame, in Japanese, which interestingly Sumiko herself relates towards the end of the novel:“We have many words for fate. Some are sentimental; others carry energy within them, cycles of luck and choice. The word that occurred to me...was old, archaic even, but the most appropriate: sadame. A resigned fate that must be accepted because it cannot be changed.”Sadame is here, not only in the impersonal pathology reports and court transcripts, but woven into the lives of the characters themselves, an acceptance of their fate under the strictures of their culture. Anyone who has read Japanese fiction in translation - especially that of Natsuo Kirino - and even the works of Ishiguro - will know what I mean by this. There is a gentle restraint to the surface of the prose which only reveals its simmering frustrations when seen in toto. Whilst the rest of the novel may not - for me - have entirely lived up to the promise of its staggering opening pages I would still not hesitate to push it into the hands of readers looking for a fresh take on the thriller genre. An intelligent, compelling read and widely deserving of the accolades it has already garnered for Scott who is definitely a writer to watch out for. In the interests of completeness, I am adding a content warning for one detailed description of homicide. My thanks to NetGalley and to the publishers Orion for kindly providing me with the ARC in return for a fair review.
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  • Erin
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to Netgalley and Doubleday Books for the ARC of this book! This story is quite different from anything I have ever read. With its basis in true crime, the detail-rich Japanese legal proceedings and the description of the practice of wakaresaseya were definitely interesting. I normally prefer stories told from multiple perspectives, but these point of view switches and the bouncing between different time periods was sometimes difficult to follow. Though it felt a little disjointed to Thank you to Netgalley and Doubleday Books for the ARC of this book! This story is quite different from anything I have ever read. With its basis in true crime, the detail-rich Japanese legal proceedings and the description of the practice of wakaresaseya were definitely interesting. I normally prefer stories told from multiple perspectives, but these point of view switches and the bouncing between different time periods was sometimes difficult to follow. Though it felt a little disjointed to me, the story did maintain my interest throughout as I needed to understand what really happened to Rina. This was not a particularly fast read, but I was definitely engaged. The character I was most drawn to was Kaitaro because he seemed to make Rina more alive and better able to be her true self. It was somewhat disconcerting to me how far my favorite character would go for love! Scott's debut novel will definitely spark conversation about the choices we make trying to parent and love well and how we construct versions of history that allow us to cope with the hands we've been dealt.
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  • Kim McGee
    January 1, 1970
    Based on a real legal case this clever debut focuses on Japanese law and customs and their place in modern day relationships. Ir is told from the viewpoint of mother, daughter and the man who would both save and sacrifice the mother. There is a practice called "Wakaresaseya" where one spouse can hire someone to seduce and get dirt on the other spouse to pave the way for divorce. This is life changing because there is no such thing as no-fault divorce or shared custody of children. Sato hires Based on a real legal case this clever debut focuses on Japanese law and customs and their place in modern day relationships. Ir is told from the viewpoint of mother, daughter and the man who would both save and sacrifice the mother. There is a practice called "Wakaresaseya" where one spouse can hire someone to seduce and get dirt on the other spouse to pave the way for divorce. This is life changing because there is no such thing as no-fault divorce or shared custody of children. Sato hires Kaitaro to seduce his wife Rina but Kaitaro changes the game by falling in love with her for real. When Rina is murdered and Kaitaro is charged with the murder, what could have been a perfect new life for Rina, Kaitaro and Rina's young daughter is crushed forever. Years later, Rina's daughter is grown up and is trying to come to terms with her mother's death and understand her relationship with Kaitaro. Even with the violence of the murder, this is a quiet love story full of contradictions the beauty and grace of Japan mixed with deceit. This is one author I am eager to read more of. My thanks to the publisher for the advance copy.
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  • SRReads
    January 1, 1970
    A brilliant and devastatingly human story, beautifully told.
  • Robert
    January 1, 1970
    This is a beautiful book. Scott combines all the elements of a brilliant story: psychologically rich characters, nuanced and gripping plot, and a world so real I could taste it. I also felt it given the intensity of the joys and traumas the characters face, made possible by prose which is both poetic and gripping as it drives towards a tragic but inevitable conclusion. I was desperately hoping things would turn out differently despite knowing better and couldn't help but feel the great sadness This is a beautiful book. Scott combines all the elements of a brilliant story: psychologically rich characters, nuanced and gripping plot, and a world so real I could taste it. I also felt it given the intensity of the joys and traumas the characters face, made possible by prose which is both poetic and gripping as it drives towards a tragic but inevitable conclusion. I was desperately hoping things would turn out differently despite knowing better and couldn't help but feel the great sadness at the heart of this dark and powerful novel, brilliantly realised in the character of Sumiko. An amazing debut.
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  • Milly Virus
    January 1, 1970
    I could not pick a book that caught me and kept me.. Until this one.. What a beautifully written story!! Love; Betrayal; Murder!! Thank you for this book because it got me back to reading and it was so well written; so interesting with another country's culture and so on and so on!!! I HIGHLY recommend this book to avid readers! You will not be disappointed!!
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  • Mandy Sue Evans
    January 1, 1970
    I truly fell in love with this book. At first, I wasn't really drawn into. Not my normal...I'm more of a thriller type person. But after a bit I had to know more about these characters and see where they went. I had to know more, I felt invested. Then of course I had to know if what I was expecting was right, which I went back & forth on. I'll get more into a review later. But as her first novel, I'm excited to see more of what Stephanie comes up with
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  • Angie
    January 1, 1970
    Beautifully written and richly evocative, "What's Left Of Me Is Yours" is a stunning debut from Stephanie Scott. The book is an exquisite exploration of the long-term effects of loss and lies.
  • Nic
    January 1, 1970
    A beautifully written and intricate portrayal of a murder in Japan told over 2 timescales. In the current day the secrets of the past are uncovered by Sumi, a recently qualified lawyer. Interposed are flashbacks to the events leading to the murder. This book was a little prose heavy for me but it is an impeccably told tale, with many a gem about Japanese justice that caused me to stop in astonishment. A rounded up 3.5* and a very strong debut. With thanks to Netgalley and Orion Books for an A beautifully written and intricate portrayal of a murder in Japan told over 2 timescales. In the current day the secrets of the past are uncovered by Sumi, a recently qualified lawyer. Interposed are flashbacks to the events leading to the murder. This book was a little prose heavy for me but it is an impeccably told tale, with many a gem about Japanese justice that caused me to stop in astonishment. A rounded up 3.5* and a very strong debut. With thanks to Netgalley and Orion Books for an advanced copy in consideration of an honest review.
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  • Cathy
    January 1, 1970
    Interesting view of the Japanese legal system, in this case through the eyes of a new member of the bar and how this system affected her life and the lives of her family.I received this book from a Goodreads giveaway.
  • Jessica Darden
    January 1, 1970
    Inspired by a true crime this booked is about a young woman looking for answers into her mothers death. A gut wrenching look at betrayal and a family torn apart by secrets. The author gives you beautiful scenery and heartfelt human interaction between each page. Inspired by a true crime this booked is about a young woman looking for answers into her mother’s death. A gut wrenching look at betrayal and a family torn apart by secrets. The author gives you beautiful scenery and heartfelt human interaction between each page.
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  • Lucille
    January 1, 1970
    What's Left of Me Is Yours is a fascinating book which opens up an area of Japanese life most readers will be unaware of, that of wakaresaseya, the marriage break-up industry.Unknowingly to his wife Rina, her husband pays a fee to Kaitaro Nakamura to seduce Rina so that he can divorce her for adultery. But Rina and Kaitaro fall in love. When the novel begins Kaitaro is in prison for murdering Rina.Her daughter, Sumiko, has always been told that her mother died in a car crash but she receives a What's Left of Me Is Yours is a fascinating book which opens up an area of Japanese life most readers will be unaware of, that of wakaresaseya, the marriage break-up industry.Unknowingly to his wife Rina, her husband pays a fee to Kaitaro Nakamura to seduce Rina so that he can divorce her for adultery. But Rina and Kaitaro fall in love. When the novel begins Kaitaro is in prison for murdering Rina.Her daughter, Sumiko, has always been told that her mother died in a car crash but she receives a phone call which leads her to think that was not the truth and decides to investigate her mother's life and manner of her death.In part a love story as well as a mystery, the book is exceptionally well researched and is obviously a labour of love by the author. Although beautifully written I did find it dragged a little in parts but would recommend it to readers nevertheless. Many thanks to NetGalley and Orion for the opportunity to read and review What's Left of me Is Yours.
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  • Scott Robinson
    January 1, 1970
    I'm very much looking forward to more from Miss Scott! What a magnificent read! I've seen others' rave reviews and I don't think I can add much more accolades to theirs...I felt as if I was there with the characters, watching the story come to life. Such a beautifully told story...BRAVO, Stephanie Scott! Thumbs way up high!
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  • Emma Shaw
    January 1, 1970
    "I realised that of all the lies we are told, the very best ones are close to the truth." Do you ever find yourself deliberately slowing down your reading speed so you can savour a book and make it last? Thats what I found myself doing with this novel; feeling the need to soak it all in and appreciate the sheer beauty within its pages. Sumiko Sarashima was raised by her grandfather, Yoshi, following her mothers death when she was just seven years old. Shes always believed that she died in a car "I realised that of all the lies we are told, the very best ones are close to the truth." Do you ever find yourself deliberately slowing down your reading speed so you can savour a book and make it last? That’s what I found myself doing with this novel; feeling the need to soak it all in and appreciate the sheer beauty within its pages. Sumiko Sarashima was raised by her grandfather, Yoshi, following her mother’s death when she was just seven years old. She’s always believed that she died in a car accident, but then a phone call from the Ministry of Justice rocks her world - her mother was murdered. Her grandfather has lied her whole life and everything she knows about her mother and herself is an illusion. Sumiko embarks on a quest for the truth, battling the strict and rather antiquated Japanese laws to slowly unravel the mystery of her mother’s death and to find out who she really was. What’s Left Of Me Is Yours is, quite simply, a masterpiece. Compelling, evocative, atmospheric and affecting, this is a book you need to read. Themes of truth and justice are woven throughout the story as it reveals the seedy, shadowy underbelly of Japanese law and the devastating long-term effects on its citizens. But at the heart of it is a story about love and the lengths some will go to in the name of it. A tragic story of a family torn apart by love, resentment, secrets and lies, the author explores the long-term effects of grief and learning your life was an illusion. Stephanie Scott is an extraordinary new talent. I fell under her spell within the first few pages as the poetic prose tells the story with beauty and fluency. Flawlessly crafted, it has a calm, graceful pace that builds to a tense and shocking climax. One of my favourite aspects of this novel is the fascinating and eye-opening insights into the Japanese beliefs, way of life, laws and culture. I was charmed by things such as the traditional way Sumiko’s name is chosen and shocked at how harsh and austere their laws were and how little rights their citizens have in circumstances such as divorce and as victims of a crime. The work that has gone into this book: the detail and research, jumps from the pages, as does the stunning Japanese landscape that is portrayed with a rich, vivid imagery that transported me to a place I’ve never been and made me feel like I was seeing it right in front of me.The story is told through a variety of voices: young and old, men and women, that are sensitively and expertly witten; each voice is distinct, offering a unique perspective. Sumiko is the only narrator in the present day, the others giving their voices to flashbacks that slowly tell the story of events leading up to, and immediately following, Rina’s death. I loved Sumiko and Rina. Sumiko is a strong woman who knows where she’s going in life until the phone call forces her to reassess everything and begin a journey of self-discovery and being forced to begin the grieving process for her mother all over again. Rina was a character full of so much joy and so many plans for the future. It tore me apart reading it knowing she was living her final months and all that she would live to never see. The catalyst for Rina’s tragic death is her love affair with Kaitaro. Their story is beautifully written, a meeting of two souls finding true love, but it is also complex, with so much hidden beneath the surface that casts a shadow over their happiness, unbeknown to Rina. I could not fathom how they would get to a place where he took her life and was convinced he was innocent for so long. An absolute tour de force, What’s Left Of Me Is Yours is a lyrical, immersive, thought-provoking, dark and breathtaking debut. Everyone needs to read this book and I will be telling everyone I know, and even those I don’t to read it. BUY IT NOW!
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  • Vivienne
    January 1, 1970
    My thanks to Orion Publishing Group/W&N for an eARC via NetGalley of Whats Left of Me is Yours by Stephanie Scott in exchange for an honest review.This debut novel is set in modern day Tokyo with flashbacks to the 1990s and was inspired by a true crime that occurred in 2010. It focuses on a young womans search for answers about her mothers life and murder. While the narrative centres on a crime, it is a literary novel exploring family ties and loss.The novel highlights a covert industry - My thanks to Orion Publishing Group/W&N for an eARC via NetGalley of ‘What’s Left of Me is Yours’ by Stephanie Scott in exchange for an honest review.This debut novel is set in modern day Tokyo with flashbacks to the 1990s and was inspired by a true crime that occurred in 2010. It focuses on a young woman’s search for answers about her mother’s life and murder. While the narrative centres on a crime, it is a literary novel exploring family ties and loss.The novel highlights a covert industry - the wakaresaseya (literally "breaker-upper"), a person who is hired by one spouse to seduce the other in order to gain the upper hand in divorce proceedings.Osamu Satō has grown tired of his wife, Rina, and so hires Kaitarō Nakamura, a wakaresaseya agent, to have an affair with her. He wants leverage and believes that it will be easy to trap her. Kaitarō is very good at his job though things don’t go to plan. Kaitarō and Rina fall in love although she remains ignorant of the circumstances that brought them together. There is no mystery as to who murdered Rina Satō as the Prologue contains a news headline from May 1994 announcing the opening of the trial of Kaitarō Nakamura for her murder. Twenty years pass and Rina’s daughter, Sumiko, newly qualified as a lawyer was raised believing that her mother died in a car accident. While at her grandfather’s she answers a phone call. They identify themselves as calling from the prison service and ask to speak to her grandfather regarding Kaitarō Nakamura. Her response is “Who is that?” The caller hangs up and Sumiko decides to investigate before confronting her grandfather. She quickly uncovers the truth of the manner of her mother’s death, though questions remain. Scott delves deeply into the complex Japanese criminal justice system and elements of Japanese society such as the marriage-breakup industry. While writing this novel she spent several years living and researching in Japan.This was a beautifully written novel that used poetic language and imagery to evoke the landscapes and culture of Japan. The narrative moves seamlessly between its various points of view as well as the past and present. In addition, its cover art is exquisite.I felt completely caught up in Sumiko’s quest for answers and her desire to come to terms with her loss. At one point she muses on her need to accept her situation and the nature of fate: “A resigned fate that must be accepted because it cannot be changed.” This brought to mind the Japanese literary tradition of mono no aware, which infuses this lyrical novel.Highly recommended.
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  • Beverley
    January 1, 1970
    https://beverleyhasread.wordpress.com/Whats Left Of Me Is Yours by Stephanie Scott is an accomplished debut about love both romantic and familial duty and murder. Set in both modern day Japan and the 1990s it explores what happens when Kaitarō, a wakaresaseya agent is hired by Satō to have an affair with his wife Rina. In the event of divorce an affair would not only be financially advantageous to Satō but it would also mean that he would gain sole custody of their daughter Sumiko.What Satō https://beverleyhasread.wordpress.com/What’s Left Of Me Is Yours by Stephanie Scott is an accomplished debut about love – both romantic and familial – duty and murder. Set in both modern day Japan and the 1990’s it explores what happens when Kaitarō, a wakaresaseya agent is hired by Satō to have an affair with his wife Rina. In the event of divorce an affair would not only be financially advantageous to Satō but it would also mean that he would gain sole custody of their daughter Sumiko.What Satō doesn’t anticipate is that Kaitarō and Rina will fall in love, and that this love will end with Rina dead and Kaitarō in jail for her murder. In the present day, Sumiko, who has recently qualified as a lawyer, has spent most of her life believing that her mother died in a car accident. When she discovers the truth about her death she is compelled to find out all she can about Rina, Kaitarō and their relationship.Seamlessly flitting from the present to the 1990s Stephanie Scott weaves a beautifully intricate tale of two people who fall deeply in love, of a mother’s love for her daughter and of a culture with deep seated traditions. I was transfixed by the compelling narrative which takes us from Tokyo, to coastal towns, small villages and into forests and mountains.Japan is a living breathing character and the depictions of the traditions, houses, streets and cities made me fall deeply in love with this country. It is richly textured with depth provided by the evident research that the author has undertaken. Small things like the care taken to describe the pinbadge given to a newly qualified lawyer and what it represents, rather than clogging the prose with superflous detail adds another layer to the book, allowing the reader to fall further into the world which Stephanie Scott has created.Inspired by a real event, the events in this book are fictitious but the love between Rina and Kaitarō feels entirely authentic. It is an agonising slow burn which is made all the tense by the knowledge that we know how it will end. Theirs is a powerful love which is wrapped up in tentative steps and delicate manoeuvre and the spectre of doom hovers just over the horizon and yet, I was willing them to be together.In the present day, grown up Sumiko is discovering that much of what she has been brought up believing is a lie. I was transfixed by Sumiko’s investigation into her mother’s death, her memories of her childhood and her relationship with her grandfather, Yoshi. It is in these moments that we realise the depth of loss and the space which has been left by the death of Rina. It makes for heartbreaking reading.What’s Left Of Me Is Yours is an evocative and immersive read and one which I have been unable to stop thinking about. I’m not sure I have the words to convey how wonderful this book is and how impressed I am by the delicate yet intricate writing. This is a book to savour and to enjoy and comes highly recommended from me.
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  • Annie
    January 1, 1970
    Although there are some books I like to read slowly, the holy grail of fiction for me is always the literary novel that is also a page-turner and Whats Left of Me Is Yours is that most rare and magical of things. The language is exquisite, to match the exquisite pain of this story - a woman seeking out and finding her own true self through investigating her mothers murder in the 90s. I can see why the subtitle A Novel has been added, as the emotions are so raw and real that otherwise readers may Although there are some books I like to read slowly, the holy grail of fiction for me is always the literary novel that is also a page-turner and What’s Left of Me Is Yours is that most rare and magical of things. The language is exquisite, to match the exquisite pain of this story - a woman seeking out and finding her own true self through investigating her mother’s murder in the 90s. I can see why the subtitle “A Novel” has been added, as the emotions are so raw and real that otherwise readers may mistakenly think of it as autobiography. It’s also a book that wears and shares its erudition very lightly. I knew nothing of the way the legal system in Japan works, and appreciated the author’s explanations of the process as the story unfolded. The murder itself was very bizarre, and all the more realistic for it - so often murderers in crime fiction present a sort of warped logic in their actions, where this one is just as mystified by what they have done as we are. It’s a pointless killing that ruins many lives, including their own. Our empathy and sympathy ebbs and flows towards all the men in the victim’s life. They are weak and cowardly to a man, and yet systemically more powerful than the women. If I weren’t already a staunch believer in the need for the fight for equality, I would be after reading this book.Finally, on a personal note, I was glad to hear Sartre’s quote “What’s important is not what happens to us, but how we respond to what happens to us,” which I’d not heard before but sums up what I have been trying to learn the last couple of years. Thanks to Stephanie Scott for a great listen, and to Hanako Footman for her wonderful reading of the book on Audible. 5/5 will be recommending to friends, and also looking out for a signed hardback copy of the novel to add to my small collection of much loved books.
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  • Kathy
    January 1, 1970
    You only have to read a few pages of this novel to know that you are holding something special and unique in your hands. Stephanie Scott's writing style is so lyrical, poetic and evocative! It flows as smoothly as a quietly bubbling creek, moving gently ever onward with a force of its own. Painting beautiful scenes with her words, she draws the reader into the world of her story.This novel crosses so many genres that it's hard to pin it to just one. Based on a true crime, it's a mystery, a You only have to read a few pages of this novel to know that you are holding something special and unique in your hands. Stephanie Scott's writing style is so lyrical, poetic and evocative! It flows as smoothly as a quietly bubbling creek, moving gently ever onward with a force of its own. Painting beautiful scenes with her words, she draws the reader into the world of her story.This novel crosses so many genres that it's hard to pin it to just one. Based on a true crime, it's a mystery, a family drama, a story of a mother and her daughter, a romance, and also a well-researched look into the Japanese culture and legal system. The story is told from two points of view in two time periods; Rina, a young married woman whose husband (unbeknownst to her) seeks to divorce her, and their daughter, Sumiko, a young adult in modern day Tokyo. Sumiko finds that what she has been told and believed about her mother's death (that she died in a car accident) is a lie. When she searches for more information, the truths she uncovers has her questioning all she thought she knew about her family and her life. Filled with love, dreams, hopes, lies, manipulation and betrayal, this is a tragic tale where each character makes decisions that have catastrophic consequences.The author writes with such skill and polish that I am amazed that this is her debut novel. I have put her on my authors to watch list, and plan to read everything she writes!My thanks to NetGalley and Doubleday Books for allowing me to read a copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review. All opinions expressed here are my own.
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