“Soy Sauce Face” by Sedonia Guillone— “Sometimes the best kept secret is the one you keep from yourself…”

Guillone, Sedonia. “Soy Sauce Face”, Ai Press, 2012.

“Sometimes the best kept secret is the one you keep from yourself…”

Amos Lassen

Tomo claims to be an “ordinary man with an ordinary life”…except for Jun. Jun is the object of Tomo’s lust and he represents everything that Tomo isn’t. He works at a bar in Kabukicho and is handsome, lively, filled with ambition and knows what to say and when to say it. Tomo, on the other hand is a recluse with no ambition. He doesn’t do well around people and would rather do mechanical things instead of interacting with those around him. Jun’s world does not include Tomo but the best laid plans of mice and men…

One night as Jun prepares to go to work, something happens that changes the course of his life. He is forced to face himself and look at his dreams and what he wants from life. Jun’s mother left him when he was very young and he was raised with Tomo’s family and in fact, he was adopted by Tomo’s father. Jun and Tomo grew up together in Tokyo and even after the father’s death, they continued to live in the apartment. Jun was the victim of an attack and Tomo nursed him back to health and learned that Jun had already signed a lease to live someone else. He was not aware of the way Tomo felt about him.

Guillone gives us a look at Japanese culture and we see that there is a great deal of respect for the family. Guillone is an excellent writer and has a gift for description and creating believable characters. This is a character driven story and interestingly enough, I found myself identifying with both Tomo and Jun. Usually we find one character that appeals to us but in this case, the two main characters are endearing.

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