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by Li Kotomi
Cho Norie is twenty-seven, Taiwanese, a long-term Tokyo resident. She works for a Japanese firm and commutes everyday as most Tokyoites. Hidden underneath her uncharacteristic existence, however, are the important aspects of her life: her sexuality, history of depression, the violent attack that prompted her to move to Japan, the fact her name is one she chose herself, and her unusual fascination with death. Yet, the darkness of her past will eventually chase her across the sea, and she will have to either escape or confront.
An Asian answer to The End of Eddy, Solo Dance depicts the painful coming-of-age of a gay person in Taiwan and the 'salaryman''s world in Japan. It reminds us of Convenience Store Woman, in which the 'machine of society' at once comforts a wounded person but also suppresses human identities. But, above all, it is an intimate and powerful account of a person's search for hope after trauma and depression. It offers an important voice from Asia's millennial generation.
About the author
Born in Taiwan in 1989, Li Kotomi writes in both Japanese and Chinese. Her debut novel Solo Dance won the Gunzo New Writers' Prize in 2017. Her novel The Island Where the Spider Lilies Bloom won the 165th Akutagawa Prize. She is the first Taiwanese winner, and the second non-native Japanese speaker, to have won the prize.
(Italy to Mondadori; Poland to JUP)