When a badly scarred man knocks on the door of Amaterasu Takahashi’s retirement home near Philadelphia and says that he is her grandson, she doesn't believe him.
She knows her grandson and her daughter died on the day the Americans dropped the atomic bomb on Nagasaki. She searched the ruined city for weeks. They vanished.
But the arrival of the stranger forces her to relive her memories of August 9, 1945, the hurt and humiliation that came before, and the pain and guilt that followed.
A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding is about grief, regret and forgiveness as one woman searches for peace in the wreckage of her life. We can’t rewrite history but can we change our future?
Published by Hutchinson in the UK (and Penguin Books in North America, where is will be published on 1 December this year), the book has been described as “an exceptional tale of a family in crisis… at once intimate and sweeping, profoundly subtle and yet remarkably affecting” (Mary Rose Maccoll, author of Falling Snow).
Jackie Copleton graduated from Cambridge University with a degree in English and moved to Japan in the 1990s to teach in language schools. She has worked as a production journalist in local, regional and national newspapers in the UK and the UAE, and was the joint prize winner of the Curtis Brown prize in 2011, for the best fiction writer across Glasgow University’s creative writing programme.