Territory Of Light [Amazon | Book Depository]
Written by Yuko Tsushima Translated by Geraldine Harcourt Published by Picador (2020, first published 1978) Original Title: 光の領分 ISBN: 1250251052 (ISBN13: 9781250251053) Literary Awards: BTBA Best Translated Book Award Nominee for Fiction Shortlist (2020), Kirkus Prize Nominee for Fiction (2019). Bought a copy of the book.
This is now the second book that I am reviewing / featuring as part of our #DecolonizeBookshelves2022 reading theme from my target list of 25 books (for this year) from This Is The Canon: Decolonize Your Bookshelf In 50 Books (Amazon | Book Depository).
After reading Daniyal Mueenuddin’s In Other Rooms, In Other Wonders (Amazon | Book Depository) – which is also from the list (see my review here) – I figured I would read a title by a female author this time around.
Similar to what I did previously, I wrote down my notes immediately after reading the book.
My book log indicates that I started reading the book on 05 February and that I finished it 10 February. I have taken a photo of my entry and sharing it here:
As I have noted above, reading this novel reminded me of Elena Ferrante’s The Days Of Abandonment (Amazon | Book Depository) – see my review here. I was struck by how the themes tackled are identical (abandonment and loss and grief), yet the way the women responded to their husbands’ fecklessness is strikingly different. I am not sure whether this is cultural, but there was feral rage in Ferrante’s novel – whereas the anger in Tsushima’s novel is more inwardly-directed, as the protagonist sinks into despair.
I also found the contrast of light surrounding the woman’s home and the darkness within the abandoned wife and hapless mother quite stark: what should have been bright and radiant now seemed pitiless and unforgiving. Moreover, I appreciated the unflinching portrayal of motherhood, stripped of romanticism, baring the exhaustion and unceasing nature of it all. The more that I think about the story, the more I value its overall pace, muted despair, and the lyricism of what it means to be abandoned in a society that expects a woman to be settled and happily satisfying her husband’s desires. The fact that the main character in this story resolved to remain alone and even pursued divorce is a testament to her defiance and wilfulness and intention to rebuild herself in a territory of her own making. I would probably change my overall grade from C to B, after writing this review.
#DecolonizeBookshelves2022 Update: 20 out of target 100
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