Invisible Gardens by Julie Shigekuni

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In this long-awaited follow-up to her acclaimed debut novel, A Bridge Between Us, Julie Shigekuni offers a beautiful and disturbing look at the intimacy and isolation, desire and despair that haunt a young woman’s life.

Invisible Gardens is the story of Lily Soto, a thirty-five-year-old Japanese-American woman, who, despite two young children, a stable marriage, and a teaching career based on a book she has finally completed, feels her life is falling apart. An extended stay by her aging father brings back painful memories of her dead mother—and amplifies how a family legacy has infiltrated Lily’s perfectly constructed, but painfully flawed, life. As Lily struggles to meet the daily needs of her children, her husband, her father, and her career, and in an attempt to avert her attention from what is troubling her, she begins an affair with a male colleague. It’s this illicit relationship that challenges Lily either to abandon her most intimate relationships or to approach her life with renewed insight.

In lyrical and precise prose, the novel examines the forces that women in their thirties face—forces that for Lily may mean not only the end of her own happiness but, more important, the dissolution of her marriage and her family.

About Julie Shigekuni

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Julie Shigekuni is the author of A Bridge Between Us, which was the recipient of the PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Award for Excellence in Literature and a finalist for the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Award. Shigekuni received her B.A. from Hunter College and her M.F.A. from Sarah Lawrence College. She has taught creative writing at the Institute of American Indian Art, Mills College, and is now on the creative writing faculty at the University of New Mexico. She lives in Corrales, New Mexico, with her husband and their three young daughters.
Published June 13, 2003 by Thomas Dunne Books. 240 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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When the affair ends, only ghosts, corpses, and love on the brink of death will be left behind: “Now the world takes shape in the garden, where tomatoes with worm holes the size of dimes shrivel on the vine, bugs eat the unpicked squash, and weeds grow between the furrows .

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Publishers Weekly

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Joseph has been Lily's security blanket, allowing her to put out of her mind her mother's sudden, unexpected death during Lily's last year of college.

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