A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding: A Novel

A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding: A Novel - Jackie Copleton A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding by Jackie Copleton

When Amaterasu Takahashi opens the door of her Philadelphia home to a badly scarred man claiming to be her grandson, she doesn’t believe him. Her grandson and her daughter, Yuko, perished nearly forty years ago during the bombing of Nagasaki. But the man carries with him a collection of sealed private letters that open a Pandora’s Box of family secrets Ama had sworn to leave behind when she fled Japan. She is forced to confront her memories of the years before the war: of the daughter she tried too hard to protect and the love affair that would drive them apart, and even further back, to the long, sake-pouring nights at a hostess bar where Ama first learned that a soft heart was a dangerous thing. Will Ama allow herself to believe in a miracle?

My Review:
A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding is super tragic, gut wrenching, beautifully horrific, and devastatingly inspiring rolled into one book. Copleton has the talent to create such intense detail exploring the world pre-bomb and the journey it takes to not recover but survive such a soul devastating experience.
I can't count the times I cried reading this book. Copleton delves into the hidden shame and process a persons mind goes through after losing faith in humanity, themselves and the culture America represented at the time and how their own affects the kind of person they turned out to be after suffering such a horrible event. Copleton explores living without trust, the completeness a human needs to heal, and the concept of living verses being alive. The denying yourself the ability to move forward and exploring the family dynamic of relationships of those around you when you have lost everyone and everything and how in the end they can get you through the emptiness.
A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding is hands down the best book I have read in years. Copleton really opens up Ama's soul and lays it out for readers to experience. She does it honestly and unapologetic and that realism that starkness is part of this books massive appeal.
How often in the world we forget just how much peoples lives have been so direly changed during the face and period of war and combat. This hole a person- Ama carries with her until she learns forgiveness for herself and others and for finally finding a sense of peace she had lost long ago.
I can't say enough about this book to give it justice because there are so many levels the author explores that I can't sum it all up in a few short words. A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding is simply masterful.

My Rating:
5 Stars

Reviewed By: Krissy's Bookshelf Reviews

Note: I received a print copy in exchange for an honest review from Berkley/NAL/Penguin