[#DecolonizeBookshelves2022] “Territory Of Light”


Myra here.

Every Saturday we hope to share with you our thoughts on reading and books. We thought that it would be good practice to reflect on our reading lives and our thoughts about reading in general. While on occasion, we would feature a few books in keeping with this, there would be a few posts where we will just write about our thoughts on read-alouds, libraries, reading journals, upcoming literary conferences, books that we are excited about, and just book love miscellany in general.

Territory Of Light [Amazon | Book Depository]

Written by Yuko Tsushima Translated by Geraldine Harcourt Published by Picador (2020, first published 1978) Original Title: 光の領分 ISBN: 1250251052 (ISBN13: 9781250251053) Literary Awards: BTBA Best Translated Book Award Nominee for Fiction Shortlist (2020), Kirkus Prize Nominee for Fiction (2019). Bought a copy of the book.

This is now the second book that I am reviewing / featuring as part of our #DecolonizeBookshelves2022 reading theme from my target list of 25 books (for this year) from This Is The Canon: Decolonize Your Bookshelf In 50 Books (Amazon | Book Depository).

After reading Daniyal Mueenuddin’s In Other Rooms, In Other Wonders (Amazon | Book Depository) – which is also from the list (see my review here) – I figured I would read a title by a female author this time around.

Similar to what I did previously, I wrote down my notes immediately after reading the book.

My book log indicates that I started reading the book on 05 February and that I finished it 10 February. I have taken a photo of my entry and sharing it here:

As I have noted above, reading this novel reminded me of Elena Ferrante’s The Days Of Abandonment (Amazon | Book Depository) – see my review here. I was struck by how the themes tackled are identical (abandonment and loss and grief), yet the way the women responded to their husbands’ fecklessness is strikingly different. I am not sure whether this is cultural, but there was feral rage in Ferrante’s novel – whereas the anger in Tsushima’s novel is more inwardly-directed, as the protagonist sinks into despair.

I also found the contrast of light surrounding the woman’s home and the darkness within the abandoned wife and hapless mother quite stark: what should have been bright and radiant now seemed pitiless and unforgiving. Moreover, I appreciated the unflinching portrayal of motherhood, stripped of romanticism, baring the exhaustion and unceasing nature of it all. The more that I think about the story, the more I value its overall pace, muted despair, and the lyricism of what it means to be abandoned in a society that expects a woman to be settled and happily satisfying her husband’s desires. The fact that the main character in this story resolved to remain alone and even pursued divorce is a testament to her defiance and wilfulness and intention to rebuild herself in a territory of her own making. I would probably change my overall grade from C to B, after writing this review.

#DecolonizeBookshelves2022 Update: 20 out of target 100

March 3, 2022 at 06:31AM Myra Garces-Bacsal