#DecolonizeBookshelves2022 Adult Award-Winning Books International Lifespan of a Reader Literary Fiction Reading Themes

[#DecolonizeBookshelves2022] “Territory Of Light”

.. by Yuko Tsushima and translated by Geraldine Harcourt.

Myra here.


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

Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

0 comments on “[#DecolonizeBookshelves2022] “Territory Of Light”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: