Japan itself is the comic hero of this sweet and funny, sad and inspiring novel.
Gaby Stanton, an American professor living in Japan, has lost her job teaching English at Shizuyama University. (No one will tell her exactly why.) Alex Thorn, an American psychologist, is mourning his son, a Shizuyama exchange student who was killed in an accident. (No one will tell him exactly how.) Alex has come to this utterly foreign place to find the truth, and now Gaby is serving as his translator and guide. The key to mastering Japanese, she keeps telling him, is understanding what's not being said. And in this "deft and delightful" (Karen Joy Fowler) novel, the unsaid truths about everything from work and love to illness and death cast a deafening silence-and tower in the background like Mount Fuji itself.