The release of Cultivating a Fuji was perfectly timed to coincide with Mental Health Awareness Week. One of the topics discussed on the news and social media was social anxiety so I was keen to read how Miriam Drori tackled the subject in a fictional novel.
Book Review: Cultivating a Fuji by Miriam by Drori
Title: Cultivating a Fuji
Author: Miriam Drori
Genre: General Fiction
Publisher: Crooked Cat Books
Release Date: 15th May 2019
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
Within pages, I connected with Martin when he became tongue tied talking to anyone, refused to use the telephone and struggled with all aspects of communication. In the past, I have suffered from anxiety in similar situations and could feel my heartbreaking for him as I remembered the terror of being unable to answer the ringing phone and the crippling fear of talking out loud at school. Luckily, I have mine under control but am aware how easy it is to slip back. This thought provoking novel is told by alternating between his adult life and his childhood and is a clever study of how childhood experiences, peers and bullying can adversely affect adulthood and shows the devastating impact social anxiety can have. It is told in multiple perspectives which gives a rounded view of how people interpret his actions as well as his version of events; this highlights the need for greater understanding and awareness in the general public. I enjoyed seeing how this intelligent man dealt with all the situations he found himself in especially in Japan and how is character grew as the novel progressed. The back stories of the side characters especially Fiona added depth to the story and gave a greater understanding of the events.
The ending was an unexpected emotional twist but one I shall never forget.
Would I recommend?
Yes. Miriam Drori has sensitively exposed the reality of living with social anxiety and the impact it has on all involved while creating a character I love in an uplifting, memorable novel. It has an important place in spreading awareness for this hidden condition.
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
Giveaway to Win copies of Neither Here No There and Social Anxiety Revealed (Open Internationally)
I am delighted to offer the chance for you to win copies of Miriam Drori’s other books.
Click here to enter.
Thanks to @rararesources for inviting me to this tour and the opportunity to read an ARC of Cultivating as Fuji so I could give an honest, unbiased review.
Have you read any books by Miriam Drori? I would love to know your thoughts in the comments below.
*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.