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Original title:



Original language



Publication info:

Kawade Shobo Shinsha

16 February 2007


169 pages



Literary fiction

Rights handled by New River

Foreign rights outside Asia, excl. France, Croatia

Rights sold:

China (Shanghai Translation)

Croatia (Sandorf)

Germany (Cass Verlag - reverted)

Korea (Jirehbooks)

North America (Other Press)

Poland (Kobiece)


Spain (Urano)

Taiwan (China Times)

Turkey (Destek Media)

UK & Comm ex Can (MacLehose Press)

Vietnam (Lao Dong)

World Arabic (THQF)

A Perfect Day to be Alone
 by Nanae Aoyama

Winner of the 136th (2007) Akutagawa Prize

270,000 copies sold since 2007 


Divided by the four seasons of a year, A Perfect Day to be Alone is narrated by Chizu, a 20-year-old stepping warily across the threshold of adulthood. When her single mother emigrates to China for work, she moves in with the 71-year-old Ginko, an eccentric distant relative who has offered to put Chizu up in her ramshackle Tokyo home. Over the course of a year, Chizu navigates a series of tedious part-time jobs and unsatisfying relationships, before eventually finding her feet and salvaging a fierce independence from her solitude. While the setting is straight from a Shoplifters-like film and its introspective, poetic style reminiscent of Françoise Sagan or Jhumpa Lahiri, A Perfect Day to be Alone is a moving, microscopic examination of loneliness and heartbreak. With flashes of deadpan humour and a keen eye for poignant details, Aoyama chronicles the painful process of breaking free from the moorings of youth. 

A Perfect Day to be Alone has not aged over time: it proves to be a perfect gem of a novel, a more literary and poetic Convenience Store Woman.

About the author


Born in 1983, Nanae Aoyama is an acclaimed Japanese fiction writer. Her literary debut was Light of Windows, which won the Bungei Prize in 2005. Aoyama was awarded the 136th Akutagawa Prize for her novel A Perfect Day to be Alone. Her other books include A Gentle Sigh, Fragments, Sound of Separation, Akari's Lakeside, and Wind. Her work has been translated into Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, German, French, and Italian.

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