Jackie Copleton’s novel A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding was published for the first time in 2015 and was her debut as a novel writer. It has a 4 star rating in the GoodReads.com and 4.5 stars in Amazon.com. After reading the summary provided in the back of the book I was compelled to get the book.
This novel is centered on a family that experienced the drop of the atomic bomb on August 9, 1945 in Nagasaki and the impact it had on them. The story starts in Pennsylvania decades after the bombing, when a stranger knocks on Amaterasu Takahashi’s door claiming to be her grandson. The grandson she thought was dead, an innocent victim of the fatal “pikadon” day in Nagasaki. Amaterasu is apprehensive on believing that this scarred man standing in front of her was her beloved grandson Hideo Watanabe, son of Yuko and Shige. Yuko was Amaterasu’s and Kenzo’s only daughter that also was killed by the atomic bomb.
The strange man brings with him a box full of sealed letters from Jomei Sato, Yukos lover and Hideo’s adoptive father, that only Amaterasu can read. The letters will uncover an array of painful secrets and confessions that will stir Amaterasu into a journey through memory lane. Memories that she had been try to concealed by leaving Nagasaki behind for a new life in America. The letters will also bring up front and center her own guilt and painful past.
Not only Amaterasu will read the letters but also her beloved daughter’s diaries that she has promised not to read. Both things (letters and diaries) will paint a picture for Amaterasu that will force her to accept a painful truth.
At first I thought the book was not that interesting but the more I read it, the more it captivated me to continue reading it. I finished the book in in just one and a half days. The book appealed to me because it provided historical details from the atomic bombing that Americans did to Nagasaki in the midst of World War II. The historical facts where on point.
I also love how the author, Jackie Copleton, tackle such a hard and horrible day in history and gave it such a spin by developing the story of this family and the impact that the crucial moment in history had on their lives. Even though, I know that the characters in the novel are fictional, I can help wondering if many survivors dealt with similar situations after the attack. Did they also left their country to escape the hard reality of that horrible morning? How many suffered the aftermath of the chemicals that where launch into their land? What hardships the survivors of the bombing had to go through? So many questions come to my mind after reading this book.
This book is well written it gradually delivers the story in such a way that it didn’t feel rushed or unfinished. These book brought tears into my eyes and it made me angry at the same time. It is an amazing book.
I recommend you to read it. Hopefully you will love it too! If you want to buy the book you can find it here Amazon, the book is also available for Kindle and Audiobook.
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