My mother has had the same hairdresser for nearly thirty years. When Joan’s studio moved from the strip mall across from the catholic school in Des Moines, my mom followed. After standing empty for a year a local bookseller moved into the small well-lit space that still smells a little like perm chemicals. I’m not going to rant about shopping at local bookstores. You can read a pretty girl talk intelligently about that here. I bring up this bookstore because the only reason I read Julie Otsuka’s novel was that the owner told me to.

“It’s written in the first person plural,” the bookseller said.

“Oh…” I said, preparing to set the book down.

“But each sentence is a story in itself. It’s really beautiful.”

“Ok, I’ll buy it.”

Clearly, I’m a sucker for even a soft-sell. She was right though, the novel is beautiful. Otsuka makes the plural POV work. It’s a fast, lovely read. You should read it.

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