Stand-in Companion is the first book I’ve read from Kazufumi Shiraishi, and I think it won’t be the last. I enjoyed the way he involved robots in such a humane story. If you like dystopian literature, you may like this one.
This little book is a futuristic tale about relationships, love, longing and infertility. It takes place in Japan in the future where you can have stand-in companions. These companions are robots, and you can only rent them for ten years. It is because they too have feelings as humans do, and they have the right to live as a normal human being after they are done being a companion for ten years.
In this story, we read about a couple trying to get pregnant but with no chance. After all the cheating and fighting, one leaves the other. But there is always a fresh start with a robot. Or is there?
Stand-In Companion, by the award-winning Japanese author Kazufumi Shiraishi, explores the struggle to find love, companionship and meaning in life. In any society, relationship dynamics are complex. And as Hayato, a Japanese industrial designer will discover in this clever and so absorbing tale, this is even the case in a future world enriched by technology, AI and androids. A love story with a twist, Stand-In Companion is a touching and so powerful exploration of infertility and relationships. Hayato and his wife, Yutori, face deeply human challenges in a world where science has solved almost every problem. A clever, absorbing and profoundly modern tale, translated by Raj Mahtani, from one of Japan’s best and most insightful storytellers.
Kazufumi Shiraishi is a Japanese novelist and the son of novelist Ichirō Shiraishi. The two are the only father-son pair to have both received the Naoki Prize, the father on his eighth nomination after numerous disappointments and the son on his second, for the 2009 Hokanaranu hito e (To an Incomparable Other). At his prize press conference, the son joked that he had always “hated” the Naoki because of the grief it had put his father through.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: