Somewhere to review books I'm reading without giving away any spoilers!
Cultivating a Fuji
Convinced that his imperfect, solitary existence is the best it will ever be, Martin unexpectedly finds himself being sent to represent his company in Japan. His colleagues think it’s a joke; his bosses are certain he will fail. What does Martin think? He simply does what he’s told. That’s how he’s survived up to now – by hiding his feelings.
Amazingly, in the land of strange rituals, sweet and juicy apples, and too much saké, Martin flourishes and achieves the impossible. But that’s only the beginning. Keeping up the momentum for change proves futile. So, too, is a return to what he had before. Is there a way forward, or should he put an end to the search now?
Gradually, as you’ll see when Martin looks back from near the end of his journey, life improves. There’s even a woman, Fiona, who brings her own baggage to the relationship, but brightens Martin’s days. And just when you think there can be no more surprises, another one pops up.
Throughout his life, people have laughed at ‘weirdo’ Martin; and you, as you read, will have plenty of opportunity to laugh, too. Go ahead, laugh away, but you’ll find that there’s also a serious side to all this…
Purchase Link – mybook.to/cultivatingafuji
This is probably one of the hardest reviews I’ve had to write so far, not because I didn’t enjoy the book but more because it is a thought provoking and somewhat unsettling book and it would be so easy to accidentally reveal spoilers and I really don’t want to do that! It is a very different story, with most of it focussing on Martin who is very able but suffers from severe social anxiety. When a colleague has a badly broken leg, it is decided that Martin would be the best person to travel to Japan in his stead but none of his colleagues are convinced he is up to the task as he finds interpersonal relationships difficult, even talking on the phone is somethings stressful to him. As his history is revealed, the reader is shown events which triggered and exacerbated his desire to hide himself and his feelings, but the journey to Japan just might be the turning point he needs!
This is a very moving story, one which shares events from many different points of view but centres around Martin. Despite this, there are many other characters and the author does an amazing job of developing them all. It isn’t a straightforward narration, there are flashbacks to different events and times sometimes from different people’s points of view. Decidedly different, it definitely raises awareness of the problems faced by people with social anxiety and how such children and adults are treated by others. It is an intriguing and thought-provoking story, a very different read with a dramatic twist at the end that had me rethinking assumptions I’d made when reading the earlier part of the book.
I requested and was gifted a copy of this book and this is my honest review after choosing to read it.
Miriam Drori has decided she’s in the fifth and best stage of her life, and she’s hoping it’ll last for ever. It’s the one in which she’s happiest and most settled and finally free to do what she wants. Miriam lives in a delightful house and garden in Jerusalem with her lovely husband and one of three children. She enjoys frequent trips around the world. She dances, hikes, reads and listens to music. And she’s realised that social anxiety is here to stay, so she might as well make friends with it. On top of that, she has moved away from computer programming and technical writing (although both of those provided interest in previous stages) and now spends her time editing and writing fiction. NEITHER HERE NOR THERE (currently unavailable), a romance with a difference set in Jerusalem, was published in 2014. THE WOMEN FRIENDS, co-written with Emma Rose Millar, is a series of novellas based on the famous painting by Gustav Klimt. SOCIAL ANXIETY REVEALED (non-fiction) provides a comprehensive description of social anxiety from many different viewpoints. CULTIVATING A FUJI takes the social anxiety theme into fiction, using humour to season a poignant story.
Amazon page: Author.to/MiriamDroriAtAmazon
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Many thanks to Rachel’s Random Resources for providing content for this post and organising the tour it is part of. The review is my own, honest opinion after choosing to read this book.