Longlisted to the Deutscher Buchpreis 2018
The architect Paul Neuhaus, freshly dumped by his now ex, receives an invitation from his old friends Ken-Ichi and Mitsuko. The mayor of a village near the nuclear disaster zone of Fukushima, Mitsuko’s uncle, asked Neuhaus to visit him. He is looking to inspire new hope by convincing Neuhaus to stay at an artists’ colony—in the disaster zone. The area has been irradiated. The villages remain abandoned. The contaminated soil has been removed. The government wants resettlement to begin, but people are afraid.
Neuhaus travels with Mitsuko and they find themselves in an inescapable and intense proximity to each other. Is there a future possible in the beautiful, polluted landscape of Fukushima…just like there might be a future for the love between Paul and Mitsuko? Life is full of mysterious chains of cause and effect and the disastrous chain reaction in the Fukushima nuclear power plant is enough to make all of us—not just the Japanese—ask what this catastrophe says about us. When we place ourselves at the center of danger, are we perhaps closer to the truth?