The personal collides with the political in this literary tour-de-force. In the 1950s, an eminent British writer pens a novel questioning the ethics of the nuclear destruction at Hiroshima and Nagasaki-but soon he’s trying to outrun his own past.
Hakone, Japan, 2003. An eminent British writer in his seventies, Sir Edward Strathairn, returns to a resort in the Japanese mountains where, in his youth, he spent a beautiful, snowed-in winter. It was there he wrote his best-selling novel, The Waterwheel, accusing America of being in denial about the horrific aftermath of the Tokyo firebombings and the nuclear destruction at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
London, England, 1952. A young Edward falls in love with an avant-garde American artist, Macy. After their tumultuous relationship and breakup, he heads for Japan, where he meets someone else and becomes smitten again as he writes the novel that makes him famous.
This is as much a thrilling romance as it is a sensitive exploration of blame, power and guilt in post-war America, Japan and Britain. With a narrator whose behaviour strikes the national conscience as much as his own, An Exquisite Sense of What is Beautiful will stay with readers long after the final page is turned.
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