Jackie Copleton lived in Nagasaki and Sapporo where she taught English before returning to England and becoming a journalist. This is her first novel.
‘What and how much should I admit to myself, and to others? Should I begin with this acknowledgement: my daughter Yuko might be alive today if I had loved her in a different way?’
When a badly scarred man knocks on the door of Amaterasu Takahashi’s retirement home and says that he is her grandson, she doesn’t believe him.
But if you’ve become adept at lying, can you tell when someone is speaking the truth? Amaterasu knows her grandson and her daughter died the day the Americans dropped the atomic bomb on Nagasaki; she searched for them amongst the ruins of her devastated city and has spent years burying her memories of that brutal summer. So this man is either a miracle or a cruel trick.
The stranger forces Amaterasu to revisit her past; the hurt and humiliation of her early life, the intoxication of a first romance, the fierceness of a mother’s love. For years she has held on to the idea that she did what she had to do to protect her family… but now nothing seems so certain.
We can’t rewrite history, but can we create a new future?
Set against the dramatic backdrop of Nagasaki before and after the bomb, A DICTIONARY OF MUTUAL UNDERSTANDING is about regret, forgiveness and the exquisite pain of love.
World Rights: Penguin Random House
Published: 16 Jul 2015