The Secrets of Mariko
A Year in the Life of a Japanese Woman and Her Family
By Elisabeth Bumiller
(Vintage, Paperback, 9780679772620, 368pp.)
Publication Date: October 29, 1996
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As it follows a Japanese housewife named Mariko Tanaka over the course of a year, The Secrets of Mariko transcends reportage to yield the kind of human insights we expect from literature. Meet Mariko, a cheerful, overscheduled woman who cares for three children, two aging parents, and an unresponsive husband. As readers watch Mariko take part in PTA meetings, bicker with her teenagers, and pursue independence through her part-time job, they come to see Mariko as someone whose dreams and disappointments mirror our own.
"A rich, sustained look at real life in middle-class Tokyo....full of cultural insight.... Her discussions of [Japanese society] are clear, well-reported and skillfully interwoven with the portrait of Mariko"--Kyoko Mori, The New York Times Book Review