O's Top 20 Books to Read This Summer
The must-reads that'll take you straight through to Labor Day.
12 of 20
Inheritance from Mother
Mitsuki is glad when her mother dies. So is her sister, Natsuki, who rejoices to be "getting free of her while I'm in my fifties." Their narcissistic matriarch, we learn, stunted her daughters' lives by behaving like a romantic heroine in the century-old Japanese serial <i>The Golden Demon.</i> Mizumura's startlingly unsentimental portrait of a woman who begins to examine her own life after her mother's death electrified readers when it was itself serialized in Japan's Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper in 2010 and 2011. Mitsuki has always been a dutiful daughter despite knowing that her mother preferred the flighty Natsuki. It isn't until her mother suffers a grave fall—and her husband betrays her—that she awakens to a duty she's shirked her whole life: to take care of herself. Chapter by chapter, Mizumura gives her heroine courage to believe in the right to independence and happiness—an inheritance not of wealth, but of self-knowledge.