Hikikomori and the Rental Sister

Hikikomori and the Rental Sister

A Novel

eBook - 2013
Average Rating:
Rate this:

A "masterpiece" (Robert Goolrick) about a withdrawn husband, a desperate wife, and the young Japanese woman who is hired to break down the walls between them.

Thomas Tessler has cloistered himself in his bedroom and shut out the world for the past three years. His wife, Silke, lives right in the next room, but Thomas no longer shares his life with her. He leaves his hideout only occasionally, in the wee hours of the night, to pick up food at the grocery store around the corner from their Manhattan apartment. Unable to cope with a devastating loss, Thomas has become isolated and withdrawn. The Japanese have a word for this phenomenon: hikikomori. They also have a solution for it: the "rental sister."

Desperate for one last chance to salvage their life together, Silke hires Megumi, a young Japanese immigrant, to lure Thomas back into the world. Fleeing from her own shattering experience, Megumi has buried her pain in a fast life spent in nightclubs with nameless men. Now she will try to help Thomas and Silke as a rental sister. At first Thomas remains steadfast and sequestered, but as he grows to trust Megumi, a deepening--and increasingly sensual--relationship unfolds.

The Rental Sister is a taut, "serenely beautiful" ( The Wall Street Journal ) novel that packs a big philosophical punch and asks: What are the risks of intimacy? Can another woman ever lead a husband back to his wife? And what must we surrender for love?

"[A] quiet but poignant exploration of loneliness and self-discovery." -- USA Today

"A mesmerizing debut at once sorrowful, intimate, and optimistic . . . an enthralling success." -- Booklist , starred review

Publisher: Chapel Hill, NC : Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2013
ISBN: 9781616201883
Characteristics: 1 online resource


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Nov 22, 2014

WOW! On so many levels! Beautifully crafted. A gifted novelist. I didn't want the book to end. Amazing for a 1st novel!

May 15, 2013

Beautiful. I didn't love the first 40 pages or so; but I went on, and was rewarded with gorgeous writing. It is a nice reminder of how one's scars can sometimes match up and heal nicely next to another's...


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further


Subject Headings


Find it at HCL

To Top