Pull Me Under - Kelly Luce - ISBN: 978-0-316-23107-7
Chizuru Akitani is the twelve year old daughter of the famous violinist and Japanese "Living National Treasure" Hiro Akitani. Overweight and hafu (her mother is white), she is tormented by her classmates and targeted by the most relentless bully of them aall, Tomoya Yu. When Chizuru's mother dies suddenly, her father offers her no comfort and she is left feeling alone and unmoored. At school, her bully's cruelty intensifies, and in a moment of blind rage, Chizuru grabs a Morimoto letter opener and fatally stabs Tomoya Yu in the neck.
For the next seven years, Chizuru is institutionalized. Her father visits her just twice before ultimately disowning her. Upon release, Chizuru flees Japan for a new identity and life in the United States. Determined to outrun her murderous past, she renames herself Rio, graduates from nursing school, marries a loving man, and soon has a daughter. But when a mysterious package arrives on her doorstep in Boulder, Colorado, announcing the death of her father, Rio feels compelled to return to Japan for the first time in twenty years, leaving her husband and daughter confused and bereft. Going back to her homeland, and to the scene of her complicated past, feels like stepping into a strange and familiar dream. When she unexpectedly reconnects with Miss Danny, who had been her beloved English teacher at the time of the stabbing, long-kept secrets are unearthed, forcing Rio to confront her past in ways she never imagined, and to decide if she will reveal to her family who she once was.
Who will like it?
Anyone who is a Fam of psychoanalytic or Freudian theory, multicultural literature, or the novels of Nic Sheff will certainly enjoy this book. I would also recommend this novel to individuals who enjoy reading about Japanese culture, or who enjoy a good mystery without reading mystery novels.
Things to Look out for:
- Japanese culture and language
- Elements of post traumatic stress and psychological themes
- Reoccurring theme of splintered identity and self
What are others saying:
Most reviews agreed that the novel draws you in immediately, and call it "worthwhile", "thought provoking", and "well written". The main drawbacks seem to be a lack of connection between the readers and the characters, with some feeling that there wasn't enough progression or consistency.