This is Amiko, Do You Copy?
by Natsuko Imamura
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Pub Date 31 Oct 2023 | Archive Date 14 Nov 2023
A sensitive and tender depiction of belonging and neurodivergence, perfect for fans of Convenience Store Woman and the off-kilter novels of Ottessa Moshfegh
Other people don’t seem to understand Amiko. Whether eating curry rice with her hands at school or peeking through the sliding doors at her mother’s calligraphy class, her curious, exuberant nature mostly meets with confusion.
When her mother falls into a depression and her brother begins spending all his time with a motorcycle gang, Amiko is left increasingly alone to navigate a world where she doesn’t quite fit.
Subtle, tender and moving, This is Amiko shows us life through the eyes of a unique, irrepressible, neurodivergent young character.
Praise for The Woman in the Purple Skirt:
“[It] will keep you firmly in its grip.” — Oyinkan Braithwaite, bestselling author of My Sister, the Serial Killer
“The love child of Eugene Ionesco and Patricia Highsmith.” — Kelly Link, bestselling author of Get in Trouble
“A taut and compelling depiction of loneliness.” — Paula Hawkins, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Girl on the Train
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 23 members
This is a curious novella as it’s quite hard to categorise.
Amiko lives with her parents and brother and observes the world around her in a peculiarly unique way. The story follows Amiko before and after her mother’s pregnancy resulting in a still born daughter. Amino’s confusion and misunderstanding towards the world around her and her insular singularity is a mixture of charming , naive and unsettling resulting in a read that leaves unsure as to how to feel towards this young girl. There is a sense that she’s abandoned to her own ‘ bubble’ or is there a stubbornness within that stops her wanting to connect with others .
A disquieting read as sympathy towards Amiko fluctuates. As to Natsuko Imamura’s message - purpose for the novel this would certainly be a point of individual reader interpretation… a conundrum of a book
A heart-breaking novella which tells us a few years from Amiko's childhood. The picture is not whole but one thing is certain: Amiko sees things differently and lives in a dysfunctional family burdened by loss and grief. The story is only a glimpse into her life but powerful and distressing nevertheless.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Pushkin Press for an Advance Review Copy.
Oh my goodness, I'm not quite sure how to review this. I can't really say it was pleasant to read because it wasn't, but I did enjoy it. It is beautiful and devastating at the same time. I loved Amiko, is she happy in her own world where she is safe from all the ugliness or would it be better if she was to know the truth? Very thought provoking regarding mental health and anxiety.
For such a short book, it is very powerful.
This novella’s premise is quite simple: Amiko is narrating memories of her childhood to a little girl.
Amiko is a spirited, quirky child who causes her mother much trouble. She blurts things out, sneaks into places, eats with her hands, and doesn’t comprehend why people find that weird and tell her off, but she takes it all very stoically, almost as if she really doesn’t get any of it. Progressively it appears that is indeed the case. She shares moments of family life, and her innocent crush on Nori, which has had a lasting impact on her.
Around her birthday, things start to change. She is gifted a walkie talkie which she practices speaking with, her mum is pregnant. The family goes through a lot of adversity and things will never be the same.
There are cute comedic moments that reminded me of Ghibli children, the film “The Taste of Tea” or even the first part of “Amelie”. However there are also very dark ones, poignantly portraying the traumatic impact of neglect and bullying on a neurodivergent child, and sheds light on the complexities of relationships with family members.
The narration is fresh and brings something unique because it is a very realistic, candid, and relatable representation of a neurodivergent childhood without being cliché or relying on stereotypes.
I think this book is important. It prompts readers to reflect on their biases and the importance of recognising the human validity of people/children like Amiko, and for neurodivergent people, it is a very moving read where we feel seen. Stories featuring neurodivergent children are often told “about” them, things are told “at” them but in this book, Amiko is candidly telling her story in her words, she wants to connect, and this is echoed in the book’s title.
I honestly did not expect it to affect me as much as it did.
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
You know when a story just speaks to you but you're not sure why. Well this is one of mine.
This is Amiko tells the story of Amiko, a little girl who has a form of neuro-divergence (its not made clear what). Amiko goes to school when she wants to; she struggles with relationships with her family and the other schoolchildren. At school she is ridiculed and bullied. At home she is mainly ignored.
Amiko does not grasp the most basic of human emotions and no one tries to explain the world to her. She is in love with a boy called Nori who only humiliates and bullies her.
This is a simple, sad tale of a little girl who no one takes the time to help. Her maladjustment in life makes her an easy target for bullies and it seems that her family cannot deal with her condition so they ignore her or chastise her for her difference.
I felt so sorry for Amiko. I wanted to pick her up and set her on her feet and tell her not everyone is cruel but autism is such a tricky condition to deal with and, never having had a family member anywhere on the spectrum I would probably do the same wrong things that everyone in the book does.
I loved this novella. The writing is beautiful; there's no word wasted. It is simple and lovely. I continue my love affair with Japanese literature.
Thankyou to Netgalley and Pushkin Press for the advance review copy.
Amiko is a young Japanese girl happy in her world. High-spirited and trying to please everyone she has a loving family and no idea that she's "different". Amiko has no filters,she says what she thinks and doesn't see life as others do. When tragedy strikes Amiko's total lack of awareness inadvertently causes chaos and heartbreak.
Like much contemporary Japanese fiction this is a thought-provoking and "different" book that leaves the reader to make their own interpretation and would make for an excellent reading group choice.
This is a superb piece of writing,Natsuko Imamura manages to mix tragedy with humour and it's a book you'll still be thinking about well after finishing it.