M1jB1O9X 20381

Territory of Light: A Novel
By Yūūko Tsushima
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux)    

A mother raising a child on her own is perhaps one of the world’s most ubiquitous tales. Heart and hope pair well with despair and anxiety in author Yūko Tsushima’s novel Territory of Light, about a mother who divorces, battles depression, and overcomes financial barriers in the heart of Tokyo. Originally published in 12 chapters in the Japanese literary magazine Gunzō in the late 1970s, this English translation of the story by Geraldine Harcourt is Tsushima’s first U.S. posthumous publication (the author died in 2016). 

The novel takes place over the course of a year, each chapter signifying one month. Its title comes from the fourth-floor makeshift apartment in a Tokyo office building where the protagonist and her two-year-old daughter live following the woman’s separation with her husband. But it also reflects the woman’s ability to process the new space between her and her partner. Insomnia and tantrums abound (“Why were children the only ones who ever got to melt down?” writes Tsushima). It evokes Hannah Gadsby’s sentiment in Nanette, that there is nothing stronger than a broken woman who has put herself back together. (3/5)

By Robyn Smith

Territory of Light: A Novel was released February 12, 2019. This article originally appeared in the May/June 2019 print edition of BUST Magazine. Subscribe today!

More from BUST

Japan's First Feminist Magazine Was A 1910s Phenomenon

"Last Night In Nuuk" By Niviaq Korneliussen Is Young, Queer, And Greenlandic

“La Bastarda” Is The First Novel By An Equatorial Guinean Woman To Be Translated Into English

 

 

Support Feminist Media! During these troubling political times, independent feminist media is more vital than ever. If our bold, uncensored reporting on women’s issues is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $25, $50, or whatever you can afford, to protect and sustain BUST.com. Thanks so much—we can’t spell BUST without U.