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Hikikomori and the Rental Sisterby Jeff Backhaus
Synopses & Reviews
Thomas Tessler, devastated by a tragedy, has cloistered himself in his bedroom and shut out the world for the past three years. His wife, Silke, lives in the next room, but Thomas no longer shares his life with her, leaving his hideout only in the wee hours of the night to buy food at the store around the corner from their Manhattan apartment. Isolated, withdrawn, damaged, Thomas is hikikomori.
Desperate to salvage their life together, Silke hires Megumi, a young Japanese woman attuned to the hikikomori phenomenon, to lure Thomas back into the world. In Japan Megumi is called a “rental sister,” though her job may involve much more than familial comforts. As Thomas grows to trust Megumi, a deepening and sensual relationship unfolds. But what are the risks of such intimacy? And what must these three broken people surrender in order to find hope?
Revelatory and provocative, Hikikomori and the Rental Sister tears through the emotional walls of grief and delves into the power of human connection to break through to the waiting world outside.
Spare, erotic, and original, this novel celebrates the human capacity to find beauty and meaning in life, even after great sorrow.
About the Author
JEFF BACKHAUS had been a cook, sponsored snowboarder, and professional pilot and flight instructor before earning a BA in journalism. He has lived and worked in Korea and is now an art director for an advertising agency in New York, where he lives with his wife.
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