In Sara Backer's American Fuji, the adventures of Gaby and Alex are not only absorbing and exotic, they are a unique glimpse into the Japan that IS Japan. Having lived in Japan for eight years, I am pleased to say that Backer's ability not only to choose the right detail but to choose the most interesting, astonishing, revealing, and accurate detail is unparalleled. From Gaby's unusual occupation to the odd tension of dining in a foreign country as everyone watches your every move, every scene presents the atmosphere of Japan as I remember it, but whether you've been to Japan or not, you will have been there once you read this book. The story is compelling, the characters are fascinating, and the imagination that produced this work is engaging, remarkable, and wild--in the finest sense of the word. After a debut like this, I will buy every book Backer ever publishes. Buy it for yourself and for your friend who teaches English in Japan.
This report prepared by Eric Paul Shaffer
American therapist Alex Thorn on tour in Japan is allegedly promoting his book Why Love Fails. However, Alex has a deeper reason for his trip here. He needs to learn what happened to his son who died while a student in Japan. Alex's son was a practicing Buddhist and thus did not believe in organ donation. When his son died, his body lacked a heart, apparently harvested for transport use.
The only clue Alex possesses is the cancelled check he made out to "Gone with the Wind", a Disney-like funeral service. Alex meets expatriate American Gaby Stanton, who informs him her company, has no record of his son and the bill is a clever forgery. Together they look for answers and Alex's grief lessens as he comes to care for his companion. She, in turn, learns that she wants to remain in Japan for more than just the medical coverage that helps pay for her health condition.
Sara Barker has written a mainstream drama that is unusual and poignant. The audience gains a unique glimpse into Japanese culture while realizing that when East meets West, anything can happen. AMERICAN FUJI has cross-genre appeal to a wide range of readers who loyally will look for more novels by Ms. Barker.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner