By Jade du Preez

The exile asked the empress, "How would you have me love you?"

Tokyo, 2017

Weeks from a birthday that will see her older than her mother ever was, Antoinette seeks two answers:

One—how to explain her Master’s thesis on light as memory.

And two—was her mother’s death an accident or a suicide?

Then a long-lost pen-pal returns to her life, propelling her closer to the truth.

Kyou, the top star of a gender-bending nabe bar, would sooner die than move into management. She needs an out, she needs cash and, most importantly, she needs an identity. As an unregistered mukoseki, she is a legal anomaly.

Officially, Kyou doesn’t exist.

Their searches for identity intertwine with the lives of a video-game obsessed businessman and a writer who refuses to speak. Across Japan and down to New Zealand, from neon-lit alleys to tiny islands, their journey towards the truth is as tangled as their pasts.

Fact and fable blur together in a rich tapestry that ultimately explores what it is to be human.

For fans of Ruth Ozeki’s A Tale for the Time Being and Ali Smith’s How to be Both, Jade du Preez’s Outsider is a rich, stylish, engrossing read that convincingly blurs the boundaries between fact and fable.

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