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The Woman in the Purple Skirt by Natsuko Imamura
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The Woman in the Purple Skirt

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The Woman in the Purple Skirt by Natsuko Imamura
Hardcover $23.00
Jun 08, 2021 | ISBN 9780143136026

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    Jun 14, 2022 | ISBN 9780143136033

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    Jun 08, 2021 | ISBN 9780143136026

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  • Jun 08, 2021 | ISBN 9780525507642

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  • Jun 08, 2021 | ISBN 9780593410790

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A BEST BOOK OF THE SUMMER: Elle · Vulture · Oprah Daily · Chicago Tribune · CrimeReads · International Business Times · Palm Beach Daily News · Refinery29

Winner of the Japan’s most prestigious literary award, the Akutagawa Prize

Winner of the Lindsley and Masao Miyoshi Translation Prize, awarded by the Donald Keene Center of Japanese Culture at Columbia University

“I’m a sucker for tales about female friendships that slide into obsession. . . . Not just another cheap thriller with a ‘you can’t trust anyone’ conceit, Imamura’s latest is like Anita Brookner’s Look at Me, reimagined by a surrealist.” ―Hillary Kelly, Vulture

“[A] hair-raising tale of psychological suspense.” ―Oprah Daily

“As unusual as it is alluring.” ―Elle

“Deadpan and disturbing, Imamura’s novel explores the tangled roots of female invisibility and visibility, while taking the reader on a journey into the fascinating world of hotel housekeeping in Japan.” ―NPR

“An unsettling story of obsession that you never see coming.” ―Chicago Tribune

“Delightfully disturbing . . . Imamura does weird singularly well, and keeps the suspense taut throughout the novel, always teasing an answer to the questions: Why this woman? What makes her so special? What makes any of us worth watching at all?Refinery29

“A tale of slapstick and stalking . . . An off-kilter farce, in which the protagonist’s poker-faced lack of embarrassment heightens the comedy . . . This book won Japan’s prestigious Akutagawa Prize, also awarded to Sayaka Murata, the author of the bestselling Convenience Store Woman and Earthlings, with whose dislocated protagonists Imamura’s narrator shares more than a shred of DNA.” ―Financial Times

“Imamura’s deadpan, yet heart-thumping novel will make you think about loneliness and longing. What happens to the people who go unnoticed? What happens to those who notice too much?” —Observer (“10 Must-Read Books with Quirky Female Leads You Can Finish in a Weekend”)

“Disquieting and wryly funny, The Woman in the Purple Skirt is a taut and compelling depiction of loneliness and obsession.” ―Paula Hawkins, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Girl on the Train

“I tore through this novel. Grippingly and intimately told, with prose as tight as a wire, The Woman in the Purple Skirt is a quick and powerful jab to the heart.” ―Jami Attenberg, New York Times bestselling author of The Middlesteins

“Imamura offers her readers crisp, refreshing prose. The Woman in the Purple Skirt will keep you firmly in its grip with its persistent, disquieting, matter-of-fact style.” ―Oyinkan Braithwaite, bestselling author of My Sister, the Serial Killer

“A breathless novel that depicts with sly humor the strange relationship between two women in contemporary Japan. You too will be obsessed with the Woman in the Purple Skirt and held in suspense until the last page.” ―Leila Slimani, bestselling author of The Perfect Nanny

“Delightful, droll, and menacing, this novel about a seemingly harmless obsession could be the love child of Eugene Ionesco and Patricia Highsmith.” ―Kelly Link, bestselling author of Get in Trouble

“Very powerful . . . Meticulous and extremely precise . . . Reading this book made me feel like I was in an unstable and strange world.” ―Sayaka Murata, bestselling author of Convenience Store Woman

The Woman in the Purple Skirt is like a love story overheard on a park bench. It’s a thriller about commutes, work schedules, and unemployment. It’s a bottle of hotel shampoo that makes its way into your shower, and you can’t seem to remember how it got there. What profound and giddy prose; I could not put this book down. Imamura is a glorious architect of perspective, surprising and breaking this reader’s heart at every turn.” ―Hilary Leichter, author of Temporary

“Imamura definitely has a rare talent for depicting people who are a little out of the ordinary. . . . By the time I got to the end, a powerful sense of the narrator’s loneliness forcing its way through the madness gripped my heart.” ―Yoko Ogawa, author of The Memory Police
“Reading this novel, you can really hear Natsuko Imamura’s unique voice, which comes across quite unsparingly and beautifully.” ―Hiromi Kawakami, author of Strange Weather in Tokyo and The Nakano Thrift Shop
“A superb story . . . I was mesmerized by this narrator. Unlikable men who hold our sympathy are frequently found in fiction, but I don’t think I’ve ever encountered a woman as unappealing as this one who still managed to keep me completely beguiled.” ―Shuichi Yoshida, author of Villain

The Woman in the Purple Skirt expertly balances the mundane and the extraordinary, never swerving too far toward one side. With clinical prose and a wry sense of humor, Imamura shows us that the most powerful portrayal of loneliness is through not the self, but the projection of the self onto another.” ―An Yu, author of Braised Pork

“[This] taut psychological thriller . . . has all the hallmarks of a future bestseller. . . . A chilling tale of envy and vulnerability.” ―Vogue (U.K.)

“Clever, wry and disturbing . . . A sharp examination of personality and persona and the small terrors of everyday life.” ―The Irish Times

“A novel unlike anything that’s come before it . . . This strange and unsettling story about control and paranoia will likely take 2021 by storm.” ―Metropolis

“Clever and engrossing . . . Alternately chilling, poignant and humorous.” ―The Herald

“I adore the way this book possesses a quality to get under your skin. . . . You can’t look away.” ―Kendra Winchester, Book Riot

“A voyeuristic thriller. Deadpan in its delivery yet page-turning . . . Suspenseful.” ―International Business Times

“A defiant and hysterical ode to the power of the woman alone.” ―CrimeReads

“A tale of isolation punctuated by slapstick humor . . . Combine[s] naked confessionalism and comic artifice to tap veins of hungry emotion—anger, fear, and, particularly, deep sadness . . . That the narrator’s unnerving internal monologue also happens to be very funny at times only makes it more interesting.” ―Public Books

“[A] deadpan novel by one of Japan’s most lauded young writers.” ―Molly Young, Vulture

“Striking . . . [An] intriguing psychological thriller of sorts, a study of a damaged soul and how she shapes the world around her . . . Quite appealing, with just enough disturbing creepiness to it to keep the reader on edge.” ―The Complete Review

“The perfect voyeuristic story.” ―Palm Beach Daily News

“Off-kilter and suspenseful.” ―World Literature Today

“Riveting . . . A chilling psychological thriller . . . Thrillingly deadpan . . . A compelling novel of loneliness and obsession.” ―Book Riot

“A taut, suspenseful narrative.” ―International Examiner

“Bold and compelling . . . Well written and engaging . . . Imamura’s strong prose creates an atmosphere of menace that is tense and creepy. . . . An eerie window into Japan’s darker side.” ―The Lady

“Sparkles with a style that is clean, understated and funny. The brand of humor―quirky, acerbic, absurd―has much in common with Sayaka Murata’s Convenience Store Woman. . . . The novel brims with that vague, metropolitan loneliness that seems a feature of much contemporary Japanese writing. . . . In a world that was already grappling with a loneliness epidemic before Covid-19, Imamura’s book is a timely read.” ―The Straits Times

“Deliciously creepy . . . Imamura’s pacing is as deft and quick as the best thrillers, but her prose is also understated and quietly subtle. . . . A subtly ominous story about voyeurism and the danger of losing yourself in someone else . . . A resounding success.” ―Kirkus Reviews

“Imamura’s spare, intense prose calls to mind Sayaka Murata’s Convenience Store Woman with an extra edge of danger.” ―Booklist

“Graceful . . . The narrator’s intense one-way nonsexual desire creates an off-balance frisson of strangeness . . . infused with the power of fascination. . . . [For] psychological thriller fans who appreciate subtlety.” ―Publishers Weekly

“Sparse and suspenseful. It reads like a sophisticated episode of Black Mirror. If you are looking for a book that you will devour in a single sitting and then think about forever, look no further.” ―Musing: A Publication of Parnassus Books

“Brilliantly translated [with] sharp humor and satiric language . . . Due to Imamura’s complexity and talent as a writer, the novel leverages the light and almost comical nature of its narrator’s internal monologues to implicitly shed wisdom on the growing problem of stalking in modern Japanese culture.” ―Asia Media International

“Tackles the universal feeling of loneliness . . . in unsettling detail.” ―Electric Literature

“I am currently devouring [it] and getting a real Come Along With Me vibe from [it].” ―Annika Barranti Klein, Book Riot

“Readable and entertaining . . . It’s as if a mirage appeared and then suddenly disappeared. . . . A mysterious novel.” ―Shukan Shincho

“Horrifying, humorous, whimsical, and disturbing . . . It will remain with you.” ―Tokyo Shimbun

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