On a cloudless afternoon in the peaceful Shikoku city of Tokushima, twelve-year-old Chizuru Akitani walked into the staff room at Motomachi Elementary, covered with blood and clutching a letter opener.
Chizuru Akitani is the daughter of the famous violinist and Japanese Living National Treasure Hiro Akitani. Overweight and hafu (her mother is white), she is relentlessly tormented at school. When her mother dies suddenly and the cruelty at school only intensifies, Chizuru snaps in a moment of blind rage and fatally stabs a classmate in the neck.
After seven years of institutionalisation, Chizuru flees Japan for a new life in the United States. She renames herself Rio, graduates from nursing school, marries and has a daughter, determined to keep her past a secret. But when a mysterious package arrives on her doorstep announcing the death of her father, she feels compelled to return to Japan for the first time in twenty years. Back in her homeland, long-kept secrets are suddenly unearthed and Rio’s dark past is thrust back into her life.
Full of sensual descriptions of Japan, its culture, and its language, Pull Me Under is a riveting exploration of home, identity, and the limits of forgiveness.
‘Revelatory.’ – Elle
‘Beautifully stark and simple, and at the same time playful, earthy, and violent. A natural born writer.’ – Rachel Kushner
‘A fierce and suspenseful exploration of the profoundly mysterious nature of identity, written with precise and spectacular beauty.’ – Laura van den Berg
‘Both dark and illuminating. Reminds you just how many lives women can, or must, lead simultaneously in order to survive. Kelly Luce has amazing control over this fragmented experience with a narrator that draws you into the eye of the storm.’ – Olivia Sudjic
‘A suspense novel with a female protagonist that gets more right about women than so many others.’ – NPR
‘Phenomenal . . . captivates and disquiets in its search for answers about the parts of ourselves that are unknowable.’ – Electric Literature
‘Psychologically complex; inspires horror, sympathy and even, at times, humour.’ – Japan Times
‘Beautifully written and utterly hypnotic.’– Bustle
‘Propulsive and fresh . . . Luce knows how to end her story, and does so satisfyingly.’ – Chicago Tribune