In this haunting, richly woven novel of modern life in Japan, the author of the acclaimed debut One for Sorrow explores the ties that bind humanity across the deepest divides. Here is a Murakamiesque jewel box of intertwined narratives in which the lives of several strangers are gently linked through love, loss, and fate.
On a train filled with quietly sleeping passengers, a young man’s life is forever altered when he is miraculously seen by a blind man. In a quiet town an American teacher who has lost her Japanese lover to death begins to lose her own self. On a remote road amid fallow rice fields, four young friends carefully take their own lives—and in that moment they become almost as one. In a small village a disaffected American teenager stranded in a strange land discovers compassion after an encounter with an enigmatic red fox, and in Tokyo a girl named Love learns the deepest lessons about its true meaning from a coma patient lost in dreams of an affair gone wrong.
From the neon colors of Tokyo, with its game centers and karaoke bars, to the bamboo groves and hidden shrines of the countryside, these souls and others mingle, revealing a profound tale of connection—uncovering the love we share without knowing.
Exquisitely perceptive and deeply affecting, Barzak’s artful storytelling deftly illuminates the inner lives of those attempting to find—or lose—themselves in an often incomprehensible world.
Praise for The Love We Share Without Knowing
Christopher Barzak’s new novel is wonderfully heartfelt and elegantly mysterious, interweaving the real and the uncanny into a compelling maze of interconnections. The deeper you get into the lives of these disparate, intertwined characters, the more complex and moving and surprising their connections become.
—Dan Chaon, author of National Book Award Finalist Among the Missing and You Remind Me of Me
One of the virtues of “serious” literature is that besides opening up unexpected worlds to the reader, it offers a way for generations to communicate…The Love We Share without Knowing would make an excellent gift from a beleaguered youth to his or her parents, an indirect way of saying, “This is what I’m going through! Try to understand!” Or, conversely, a great gift from a parent to a disaffected 20-something who seems to have lost his or her way in life: “Yes. I know what you’re going through. That’s at least one thing you don’t have to worry about.”
—Carolyn See, Washington Post Review (Read the whole review by clicking here.)
In this follow-up to his notable debut, One for Sorrow, Barzak offers an otherworldly novel made up of linked short stories set in contemporary Japan. Barzak’s varied players spin their stories of love, grief, and growing up in first-person narratives that artfully collide with each other to stunning emotional effect. In one narrative thread, a teenage boy lost in Tokyo is led home by an ethereal girl in a fox costume; he later discovers she is dead. The childhood best friend of the fox girl is a casualty of her planned group suicide, but not in the way she anticipates. The author finds rich territory in situating his characters in places steeped in personal loss and letting them fumble toward acceptance of their own frailties.
—Anne Garner, NYPL, Library Journal
From the frantic streets of Tokyo to the surreal silence of rural Japan, Christopher Barzak spins the familiar yarn of the everyday world into a magical universe. Following in the themes of his stunning debut, One for Sorrow, Barzak once again tackles loneliness and longing, and elegantly blurs the divide between the living and the dead. The Love We Share Without Knowing is haunting, strange, and utterly surprising from the first page to the last.
—Michelle Richmond, New York Times Bestselling Author of The Year of Fog and No One You Know
“Barzak’s accomplished novel-in-stories evinces the fragile and overwhelming desire for meaning and love.”
—Publishers Weekly (Read the whole review by clicking here.)
“I am coming to the conclusion that Christopher Barzak could be one of the best new writers that America has produced in recent years. Not one of the best science fiction writers or fantasists; one of the best writers, period.”
Read the entire SFsite Review