Yuki Natsume Makes Me Think
The title of this article should give you some idea of the strength of this novel. It is an adult fiction book that tells the story of a young Japanese woman who has fallen in love with a white man who is a doctor in his home country of the United States. There are several reasons to read Yuki Natsume. It will make you think, it will make you cry, and it will make you think again.
First, I liked Yuki Natsume because it made me think. As many adult fiction novels do, it starts off with a bang. In this case, the bang comes from the beginning of the book, the first scene. You get the impression right away that Natsume is trying something very unusual. As the book continues, the effect becomes more effective and believable.
Second, it made me think about how much better this story could have been told if only Natsume had known English. I can imagine her reaction to having to read a wordy novel in English. There is a lot that she doesn’t understand. She can’t communicate clearly enough with the writer. She can’t be sure that he understands her feelings, because he doesn’t always talk exactly as she imagines him to be. He can also seem distant at times. If only Natsume had learned to read English at school and gotten a good education in that language, she might have been able to communicate better with the author.
Third, the way in which Natsume is portrayed in this book gives her a lot of agency. This is important, because in most stories women are never allowed to act as their own agents, or to make decisions about their own lives. When a woman is told that her life is controlled by another person, she is often shocked. This makes her uncomfortable and in this novel this becomes Natsume’s reality.
Fourth, Natsume is written in such a vivid manner that it is almost impossible to get through this book without thinking about what happens to her. When I was reading Yuki Natsume, I kept seeing a vision of Natsume running through the streets of Japan, looking for people and things that might have been lost along the way in a previous version of her life. (Natsume has a different father and different experiences in each version, so she might find more happiness in some versions than in others).
Finally, Yuki Natsume made me think. It was like a new novel was opening up to me, and I found myself staring at its words, wondering what is going on.