In Japan, a covert industry has grown up around the "wakaresaseya" (literally "breaker-upper"), a person hired by one spouse to seduce the other in order to gain the advantage in divorce proceedings. When Sato hires Kaitaro, a wakaresaseya agent, to have an affair with his wife, Rina, he assumes it will be an easy case. But Sato has never truly understood Rina or her desires and Kaitaro's job is to do exactly that--until he does it too well.
Scott deftly exposes how life-limiting even the most well-intentioned lies can be, especially for women in a society that remains as patriarchal as Japan’s ... For the outsider, What’s Left of Me Is Yours is an extraordinary window onto a culture ... The novel’s documentary feel is further enhanced by the way Scott punctuates her narrative with 'official' documents—an autopsy report, an incident report, a crime-scene report and witness statements. This clinical effect is offset by the sensual sweep of Rina’s budding romance with Kaitaro, the 'wakaresaseya' who falls in love in spite of himself ... Each chapter of this enrapturing novel is elegantly brief and charged with barely contained emotion. Yet Scott’s subject remains vast: the idea that the law itself does not protect the innocent, and 'that what matters most is knowledge—of ourselves and others.'
...[an] impressive first novel ... a finely written case history of a crime of passion—not only a 'why-dunnit' but a 'what really happened?' ... A metaphoric lyricism ripples through this chronicle of an unknown past recovered only in part. 'This story of ours has so many sides that I doubt I will ever know the full extent of it,' Sumiko thinks. Also in question for Sumiko is her own future: What will she do with what she has managed to discover? Ms. Scott answers her compelling book’s questions with the skill of a master.
... a simmering tale of passion and murder ... The seemingly complicated structure works: events in the past are clearly differentiated and Sumiko’s reactions to them are heightened by the first-person viewpoint. It also allows Stephanie Scott to mix a tender, literary love story with a meticulously researched police procedural...The result is seamless, although perhaps not as twisty as average detective fiction. But the more literary parts of the story more than compensate. Scott has a talent for descriptive writing and the ability to convey large ideas in a brief sentence ... There is plenty to learn from this book about Japanese society, legal process, photography and even geography. Scott is also keen to show how events of the past can have long-lasting effects on the present. The strongest theme to emerge however is that of the perils of living your life as others wish ... a strong message of hope and self-realization from an unusually intelligent whodunnit.