Dianne Highbridge In the Empire of Dreams

ISBN 13: 9781569471906

In the Empire of Dreams

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9781569471906: In the Empire of Dreams
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In these ten interconnected stories, a group of American, British, and Australian expatriates living in Japan explore the surrounding culture, people, and customs. Each woman searches for happiness, love, fulfillment, and a new identity as their lives intertwine with those of other foreigners and the Japanese among whom—and sometimes with whom—they live. From encounters at "love hotels" and cramped Tokyo apartments, to cherry blossoms and melancholia. these stories construct a graceful picture of alienation, connection, and longing,

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Review:

In the Empire of Dreams captures expatriate life in a way few novels can--its frustrations, its pleasures, the bittersweet pang of being "irrevocably other." For some of Dianne Highbridge's expats, life in Japan feels like coming home; without knowing it, they've been foreigners all their lives. They're "the real gaijin," as one character puts it,

The ones who can't go home, not just yet. The ones still here, still fumbling for the right words in a language made for not explaining, still searching for lovers whose embraces bring to mind no pain, still hopefully clapping hands before the shrines of gods who will never know them but whose indifference itself seems sweet. The uncertain, the messy, the screwed-up, her own kind.
In 10 self-contained chapters, Highbridge paints a series of messy, screwed-up lives. Elaine, the scholar; Cathy, the potter; Gwyneth, the prim Englishwoman whose flight from her homeland fills her with glee: "She escaped! She escaped from everything! From grubby men on bus queues, from headscarves, and gravy, and Tories!" The structure is fragmented, but like so much about this novel, it works: in these vignettes Elaine and Cathy and all of their friends brush by one another much like expatriate acquaintances nodding in the street. Their Japan is one of cherry blossoms and tea ceremonies, to be sure, but it's also one of love hotels, department-store "disaster corners," and monotonous second-rate teaching jobs. Rather than pretending to tell us something new about Japan, Highbridge has told us something new about those who seek it out; the result is a delicate, unsentimental, and surprisingly cohesive book. --Chloe Byrne

About the Author:

Dianne Highbridge was born and raised in Sydney where she went to university. After working in London bookshops for a time, she became a postgraduate student at the University of London. She then received a scholarship to the University of Tokyo to study the early twentieth century women's movement took her to Japan. Married in New York to a Japanese industrial designer, she has lived in Tokyo for a number of years. She has received grants from the Australia Council Literature Board and her stories and journalism have appeared in England, Australia, and the United States.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9781569471463: In the Empire of Dreams

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ISBN 10:  1569471460 ISBN 13:  9781569471463
Publisher: Soho Pr Inc, 1999
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9781865081540: In The Empire Of Dreams

Allen ..., 1999
Softcover

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