Reading the World: Solo Dance
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Cho Norie, twenty-seven and originally from Taiwan, is working an office job in Tokyo. While her colleagues worry about the economy, life-insurance policies, marriage, and children, she is forced to keep her unconventional life hidden―including her sexuality and the violent attack that prompted her move to Japan. There is also her unusual fascination with death: she knows from personal experience how devastating death can be, but for her it is also creative fuel. Solo Dance depicts the painful coming of age of a gay person in Taiwan and corporate Japan. This striking debut is an intimate and powerful account of a search for hope after trauma.
"In Li Kotomi’s empathetic novel Solo Dance, a young woman struggles to find her place in a world that is hostile to her sexual identity. A moving character study about the consequences of homophobia, and the resilience that’s required to survive it." —Foreword Reviews
“Solo Dance has no illusions that in the present day, the implicit and explicit violence of homophobia still leaves lasting scars on young queer people. But, ultimately, this is a book about being able to integrate one’s trauma in a world where acceptance, while not universal, can be found. Being queer and Asian continues to be a fraught reality for so many people. But in spite of all the pain and trauma, Solo Dance is a testament to the possibility of a path forward that exists for queer Asians today. ”—Autostraddle
"Solo Dance is a book that brings up several interesting themes: queerness, emigration, abuse, trauma, and death. It is the story of a young Taiwanese woman living in Japan and dealing with a lot of the things most people deal with in their twenties, from failed relationships to trying to figure out the meaning of life. But it is also about a main character who goes through several changes, and losses, and who is deeply aware of the role of death in life. Beautifully written too." —Book Riot Best Books of 2022
Li Kotomi is a bilingual Japanese-Chinese writer, translator, and interpreter. She was born in Taiwan in 1989 and moved to Japan in 2013. In 2017, she won the 60th Gunzō New Writers’ Prize for Excellence for her first novel, Solo Dance, written in Japanese, her second language. Since then she has been nominated for numerous prizes in Japan, and in 2021 she received the Minister of Education Award for Fine Arts, a prize for upcoming writers. Her range of activities spans multiple countries, regions, and languages, and her translation expertise ranges from general business to literary arts, tourism, manga, games, and contracts.
Arthur Reiji Morris is a translator of Japanese literature, manga, and video games. Born in London, he graduated from the University of Leeds in 2015, before moving to Tokyo. When he’s not translating, Arthur enjoys writing music and practicing Japanese calligraphy. He returned to the UK in 2019, and is now based in London.