Winner of the Kenzaburō Ōe Prize
Two immigrants, Salimah and Sayuri, navigate isolation, a new language, and devastating loss on their way to a lifelong friendship. Far from her native country of Nigeria and now living as a single mother of two, Salimah works the night shift at a supermarket in small-town Australia. She is shy and barely speaks English, but pushes herself to sign up for an ESL class offered at the local university.
At the group’s first meeting, Salimah meets Sayuri, who has come to Australia from Japan with her husband, a resident research associate at the local college. Sayuri has put her own education on hold to take care of her infant daughter and she is plagued by worries about financial instabilities and her general precariousness.
When Sayuri’s daughter dies in daycare and one of Salimah’s boys leaves to live with his father, the two women look to one another for comfort and sustenance, as they slowly master their new language.
Written with great warmth, Farewell, My Orange offers optimism in the face of adversity. In the stories of Salimah and Sayuri, readers will find a touching portrait of our need for others and the certainty of change.
Iwaki Kei was born in Osaka. After graduating from college, she went to Australia to study English and ended up staying on, working as a Japanese tutor, an office clerk, and a translator. The country has now been her home for 20 years. Farewell, My Orange, her debut novel, won both the Dazai Osamu Prize and the Kenzaburō Ōe Prize.