Another wonderful book read this summer! This is a beautifully written debut that is a blend of a mystery, love-story, and betrayal that saw this love-story turn all wrong. It is also a search for a child’s identity and her search for the truth about her family and about her mother.
So this very much felt in the same vein as An Unremarkable Body by Elisa Lodato. And I was all over it for that! I really, really enjoyed An Unremarkable Body, and in What’s Left of Me is Yours, Sumiko uses court transcripts and stories from her Grandfather to slowly peel back the layers buried in the past, to better understand her mother’s murder and to understand who she is as well.
Told from alternating points of view from Sumiko, Rina, Yoshi and Kaitaro, Sumiko fills in gaps, pieces together more truth from the stories her grandfather, Yoshi has told her all her life and dives deep into the investigation and court transcripts her grandfather has kept from the trial. Sumiko has studied to become a lawyer, to follow her in grandfather’s footsteps, so has access to these files. Therefore, this story has this wonderful layered element to it. We know from the very beginning Sumiko’s mother Rina is murdered, and done so by her lover Kaitaro, but we don’t know why he did it. The slow reveal of Rina and Kaitaro’s love story follows.
Kaitaro is a wakaresaseya (a breaker-upper) hired by Rina’s husband Sato to seduce her so that he can gain everything from the divorce that he would file for once he exposes Rina for being an adulterer. However, Kaitaro and Rina fall in love but then the next part of the story is that he murdered Rina and is serving his life sentence in jail. Why? How did it come to that?
Throughout the process of piecing together all these elements, Sumiko reveals the truth, not tainted by her grandfather’s stories. As she discovers more about her mother’s life, she finds her own self in the process and possibly the role she might have played in her mother’s untimely death.
The final reveal of what happened to Sumiko’s mother and how the love story between her and Kaitaro was ruined is a heartbreaking one, and brings the book to a satisfying close.
It’s beautifully written, I’m absolutely looking forward to reading more from Stephanie Scott. I had but one wobble, in that it is perhaps too drawn out? There are a great many details written here, and while beautifully done, perhaps dragged it out just a wee touch too much for me. But honestly, a very, very minor quibble because I really enjoyed reading this one!
I originally received this one via Netgalley, but waited for the library to have it so I could read the hardcover copy.