Book - 2015
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"When Kayu Saito wakes up, she is in an unfamiliar place. Taken to a snowy mountainside, she was left there by her family and her village according to the tradition of sacrificing the lives of the elderly for the benefit of the young. Kayu was supposed to have passed quickly into the afterlife. Instead, she finds herself in Dendera, a utopian community built over decades by old women who were abandoned like her. Together, they must now face a new threat: a savage bear who, like them, is female and hungry"--
Publisher: San Francisco : Haikasoru, ©2015.
Edition: English language edition.
ISBN: 9781421571737
Characteristics: 360 pages ;,21 cm


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KateHillier Dec 12, 2015

There is a Village in the mountains somewhere in Japan (time period is who knows when but everything is pretty bare bones). When you turn 70 you are carried up the mountain and you die of exposure. Except, apparently, for Kayu Saitoh and a fair amount of other women, who are rescued and now live in a community known as Dendera. Kayu is unimpressed that she is not dead - she feels that now she cannot go on to Paradise and that way of things has been disrupted - but there are other issues in Dendera. Like a bear that's showing a keen interest in their paltry food stores, like the fact that half of Dendera wants to raid and destroy the Village while the other half just wants to stay as they are. Kayu would much rather have died so we get a decent outsider perspective here, and I honestly wonder how they hope to make this community sustainable with some of the decisions made and not made. There are whole lot of skeletons in Dendera's closet as well, which slowly become known as Kayu starts asking questions.

It's an interesting read overall. Maybe not one I'd read again but it's certainly interesting.

Apr 27, 2015

A profound book that stays with you. I read it in one day about a week ago, and I am still finding myself caught both in the world and characters of the novel, and also the questions that the story raised. Questions are raised about fitting into society, self-determination, the worth and meaning of life, and how an individual can/cannot make choices. Having a group of women, aged from seventy to one hundred, who have no education, no practice in decision-making, and very different agendas, learning to deal with survival and making a future for themselves is fascinating.

Plus the writing is vivid. You really feel the cold, what it is like to eat your one hot potato of the day, what it is to sleep on frozen ground. The last race of Saitoh down the mountain, seventy years old, starving, with one arm torn away, leading the bear away from the other women will stay with you for a very long time.

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