BuchanonRowanJisayo-AWLP Longlist


2018 Longlist

Harmless LIke You_web“Harmless Like You”

W.W. Norton & Company

Written in startlingly beautiful prose, “Harmless Like You” is set across New York, Connecticut, and Berlin, following Yuki Oyama, a Japanese girl fighting to make it as an artist, and Yuki’s son Jay who, as an adult in the present day, is forced to confront his mother’s abandonment of him when he was only two years old.

The novel opens when Yuki is sixteen and her father is posted back to Japan. Though she and her family have been living as outsiders in New York City, Yuki opts to stay, intoxicated by her friendship with the beautiful aspiring model Odile, the energy of the city, and her desire to become an artist. But when she becomes involved with an older man and the relationship turns destructive, Yuki’s life is unmoored. “Harmless Like You” is a suspenseful novel about the complexities of identity, art, adolescent friendships, and familial bonds that asks—and ultimately answers—how does a mother desert her son?


Rowan Hisayo Buchanan is a British-Japanese-Chinese-American novelist. She received a BA from Columbia University in New York, and currently resides in the UK. “Harmless Like You” was a New York Times Editors’ Pick and won a Betty Trask Award.