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Find out what Mumsnetters thought of A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding by Jackie Copleton

(43 Posts)
SorchaMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 16-May-16 12:59:04

Amaterasu Takahashi has spent her life grieving for her daughter Yuko and grandson Hideo, who were victims of the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki in 1945. When a man claiming to be Hideo arrives on her doorstep, she is forced to confront those memories, of the daughter she tried too hard to protect and the secret that would drive them apart.

For fans of Memoirs of a Geisha and The Piano Teacher, prepare to be gripped by A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding, the heart-wrenching debut novel from Jackie Copleton.

We've got 50 copies of A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding to give away to Mumsnetters who want read and share their thoughts about it on this discussion thread. The giveaway has now closed but you can head over to the giveaway page now to find out more about the book.

You don’t have to win a free copy to take part in the discussion. Anyone who has read A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding can post their feedback here. If you missed out on a free copy, you can always buy a paperback and all who post before 5 August will be entered into a prize draw to win a £100 Love2Shop voucher.

This giveaway is sponsored by Cornerstone

AngelicCurls Mon 16-May-16 21:31:47

I won't be applying for a free copy as have just finished reading it on my kindle but just wanted to post to say this is an absolutely fantastic book. I downloaded it on a recommendation from another MNetter and was glad I did as it was a gripping read.
I kept reading it long after my BF baby had gone to sleep in my arms and could have been put in his cot-didn't want to put the book down!

Uzma01 Wed 25-May-16 06:29:21

Got an email yesterday to say I would be getting a copy. Many thanks, am looking forward to reading it.

Susangilley7 Mon 30-May-16 22:27:24

Missed the opportunity. Would have loved to read this.

steffibabes Sat 11-Jun-16 14:22:54

Has anyone received their copy?

SorchaMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 13-Jun-16 16:27:06

Hi steffibabes- and anyone else who hasn't received their free copy yet- bear with us, we're just finding out what's happened to these books! We'll let you know when we have an update and will change the date of the feedback discussion prize draw accordingly. Thanks for letting us know!

daisyduke66 Mon 20-Jun-16 13:52:07

A beautiful, moving story, full of human understanding. The book jumps about somewhat in narrative so can become a little confusing but bear with it! Without giving away any spoilers, a lovely human story told with compassion.

elizimmy Sat 02-Jul-16 09:33:53

Received my copy yesterday, perfect timing because I have just finished a book! Can't wait to start reading it!

FernieB Mon 04-Jul-16 21:05:08

My copy arrived 4 days ago and I've devoured it already. Its a story about motherhood and how much a mother will do to protect her daughter. Told via the daughter Yuko's letters and also those of her lover which are interpreted by the mother, who also fills in the blanks in the story. It's really Ama's story (the mother) and although you have to wait until the end to discover the truth about her past, it is worth the wait as the rest of the story unfolds slowly.

The book is set mainly in Japan during WWII and some of the descriptions of events in POW camps and the aftermath of the bombing of Nagasaki are difficult to read. The story does jump around in time quite a bit which was a little confusing at times but necessary for the plot.

Not a book I would normally have picked up but definitely worth reading. I shall be recommending this one to friends.

CopperPan Mon 04-Jul-16 21:57:32

This story was an interesting and engaging work of historical fiction and I liked that I learned a lot about Japanese culture and this event in particular. I would be interested in reading more about this horrific event and historical period in the future after reading this book. I loved the style this book was written in and the way the story gradually came together. In places this was rather an emotional read, but overall a compelling story that felt very real.

chris69 Wed 06-Jul-16 10:56:06

Lucky to receive this book in the giveaway! A really good read, not something something I would have picked up myself, but so glad i have read it. A beautifully written fictional account of events leading up to and after the A bombing of Nagasaki, capturing the horror and heart wrenching story of a family ultimately destroyed and left trying to rebuild their lives.

Imfinehowareyou Sun 10-Jul-16 19:35:31

I loved it! Thanks MN for my copy. I love reading historical books set in Japan but had never read about this era before. It was so interesting to find out about the war from a different perspective.

I loved the ending. Not to give it away but it is solved in a way which satisfies the reader whether you believe Hideo is her grandson or not.

I want to read more about WWII from the perspective of Japan now.

pennwood Sun 10-Jul-16 20:02:09

To be honest the title, A Dictionary Of mutual Understanding rather put me off applying for the book, but I am so glad I did. From the first page I entered the story, & accompanied Amaterasu on her journey. I felt her despair during the scenes of the aftermath of the atomic bomb, felt her love, and anguish, with all the twists and turns until the unexpected conclusion. A thoroughly good read which I would recommend.

Lindsaym1983 Mon 11-Jul-16 19:04:28

I loved this book and was hooked from the very first page. I started reading one night and I ended up staying up late to continue reading as I just could not put it down. The story is so beautifully written with lots of twists and turns that keeps you interested. I devoured this book in less then 24 hours and think that it be the perfect holiday read.

dalek Mon 11-Jul-16 21:04:56

I have just finished this beautiful book - thank you MN for the opportunity to read it.

Makes you think about what you would and wouldn't do for your child. To be honest I guessed the "secrets" but it didn't matter. The writing is beautiful and I really cared about most of the characters. The horror of the aftermath of the nuclear bomb is quietly descriptive, not loud. In fact I would say that this is a quiet and contemplative, not showy book.

It is about a family, the nuclear bomb dropped on Nagasaki, first love, older love, the position of women in that society at that time and what was required of them to survive.

I also loved the little Japanese lesson at the beginning of every chapter - the one that has stuck with me is about sharing an umbrella - read it and see what I mean.

Uzma01 Tue 12-Jul-16 18:56:37

I still haven't received my copy shock

elizimmy Fri 15-Jul-16 10:35:09

I have just finished and what a fantastic read it was!
Although I founds parts of it a little harrowing and the story tended to jump about a little, meaning I had to go back and re-read parts thinking I'd missed something, I found it fascinating and enjoyed learning more about Japanese culture and the history of Nagasaki.
This book was well written and the story was thought provoking and not too predictable.
Thank you Mumsnet for the opportunity to read this brilliant novel and praise to Jackie Copleton for her excellent writing!

Kriek Fri 15-Jul-16 16:18:18

Just typed out a long post and my phone swallowed it. I'll be back later with my comments but as a quick summary I loved it. This was the first book I have finished at such a pace in a long time. It took just under 5 hours to get through it due to the great characters and page turning story.

allybird1 Sat 16-Jul-16 09:13:54

Thanks to mumsnet for letting me review this book. I was really pleased to receive this book as I have read ' Memoirs of a Geisha ' and I thought that if it was anywhere near as good as that, it would be a fab read. It had the same beauty, the pain, the reminiscences - although it could get a little confusing with the swapping back and forth. I really like Japanese culture, but this was a period of time I haven't read a lot about, so it was very interesting. I had studied the Japanese language at university, so the little snippets at the start of the chapter were a cute touch.
The author has written a fantastically crafted novel, especially as her first and I look forward to reading more from her.

shelaghh Mon 18-Jul-16 15:40:25

This novel is a sad story of the "AFTER EFFECTS"of War, of any kind on the the people who are in it. One day there will be everlasting peace- for all of us.

JengaWenga Tue 19-Jul-16 11:07:40

Thank you for my free copy. I really enjoyed the book. There were so many different elements to it, family relationships, Japanese culture, forgiveness, World War Two, first love etc. I loved the way that all these elements tied together to produce a beautiful, though provoking story.

Uzma01 Wed 20-Jul-16 16:30:52

I do love fiction that has some historical and geographical references in it, so this book was a great read for those reasons as well as being so well written. It was an emotional account and did make me want to find out what had happened to Amaterasu and her daughter. Highly recommended reading.

CordeliaScott Fri 22-Jul-16 23:22:27

Thank you for my free copy. I found this very sad to read, especially as it is set against the backdrop of the aftermath of the bomb dropped on Nagasaki. Whilst there is an attempt at a happy reunion at the end it just emphasised to me everything that was lost. To be honest it was a bit too depressing for my taste.

Stanislas Sun 24-Jul-16 16:09:36

I have been to Nagasaki so thank you Mumsnet for sending me the book. I wondered if it's a good thing to write fiction about such a dreadful event. I've read a lot of Japanese literature and hoped it wasn't a start of because there is now such a distance it can be turned into fiction. I enjoyed the novel as a novel but wondered if the author had lived long enough inJapan or just thought it would make a good tale.

polo3 Mon 25-Jul-16 19:05:03

I really enjoyed reading this book. Beautifully written.
I felt like I learnt a lot about the horrific and tragic effects of Hiroshima and also the torture applied by the Japanese on their POW.
The story that threads through the book is a very moving one.
I will be recommending this book to my book group

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