The Refugees’ Daughter is the first book I ever read from Takuji Ichikawa. I read it in one sitting, and it made me look at society and children with entirely different eyes. Where should we look for hope when adults lose their innocence and turn the whole world into hell?
The Refugees’ Daughter is a dystopia that will make you sad and hopeless right on the very first pages. The world is now irreversibly injured and on the verge of extinction. While people kill each other over water and food, those who hold the power act as if the whole world is theirs and thus destroy humanity. But in the midst of all this, some children receive a sign from the “other side”. Although the journey of the selected families to the other side is dangerous, they still endure it. Since there is nothing left for them in this world, they take their chances in the unknown.
What are these people going to encounter when they go into the unknown with just “signs”? If there are a new world and a new order, how will this order survive at its best? Well, with the help of the most innocent, of course.
In a society rife with conflict and a world on the edge of extinction, who should we turn to for answers: society’s strongest or weakest? This is the question Takuji Ichikawa, one of Japan’s most imaginative and unusual authors, poses in The Refugees’ Daughter, a magical modern parable for our troubled times. Through this terrifying and dreamlike dystopia, a young girl is amongst those fleeing their homes and seeking safety. From Ichikawa, a Japanese author whose books sell in the millions comes a thought-provoking piece which addresses themes of humanity, responsibility and the need to have a place to call home. Exploring power, patriarchy, strength and freedom, this vision of a frighteningly familiar world asks vital questions. Translated by Emily Balistrieri, The Refugees’ Daughter is a powerful, poignant and utterly relevant tale that will resound in the minds of everyone who has ever searched for hope.
Takuji Ichikawa is a Japanese novelist. Ichikawa’s bestsellers include Ima ai ni yukimasu, Ren’ai shashin and Sono Toki wa Kare ni Yoroshiku. His works are also adapted for Japanese films such as Be with You, Heavenly Forest, and Japanese TV series 14 Months.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: