This is a lovely, quiet read. A mother and a daughter meet for a holiday in Tokyo and see the sights, after some time apart. It’s by no means plot driven but is a touching meditation on mother-daughter relationships.
Jessica Au looks at the boundaries between parents and children; the shift in adulthood when you become aware of your parents’ vulnerability. There is a great account of the see-saw that the daughter experiences, of assuming the role of the adult while being unable to shake off a childish sense of entitlement: she is looking out for her ageing mother while pushing her to keep up with a busy itinerary.
The daughter-narrator sets out on the trip believing the caring roles have been reversed — it is her initiative and she thinks it will be nice for her mother — but over the course of the holiday she realises she doesn’t know as much of her mother as she thought; she is both predictable and familiar while being surprising and unknowable.