The Perfect World of Miwako Sumida

Publication: 2020

Author: Clarissa Goenawan

University sophomore Miwako Sumida has hanged herself, leaving those closest to her reeling. In the months before her suicide, she was hiding away in a remote mountainside village, but what, or whom, was she running from?

To Ryusei, a fellow student at Waseda; Chie, Miwako’s best friend; and Fumi, Ryusei’s older sister, Miwako was more than the blunt, no-nonsense person she projected to the world. Heartbroken, Ryusei begs Chie to take him to the village where Miwako spent her final days. While he is away, Fumi receives an unexpected guest at their shared apartment in Tokyo, distracting her from her fear that Miwako’s death may ruin what is left of her brother’s life.

Expanding on the beautifully crafted world of Rainbirds, Clarissa Goenawan gradually pierces through a young woman’s careful façade, unmasking her most painful secrets.

Request more information


Original Language

ENGLISH (World) | Soho Press
ENGLISH (Audio) | Tantor / Recorded Books
ENGLISH (UK & ANZ) | Scribe Publishing

Translation Rights

ITALIAN | Carbonio Editore
POLISH | Bokka / WUJ


A Literary Hub Most Anticipated Book of 2020

“A tremendous examination of sadness . . . a book with heart about the mysteries of the heart.” New York Journal of Books

"This is Murakami without the male gaze – a feminist Murakami." The Saturday Paper

“A compelling protagonist . . . Like Japanese brush painting, the author’s simple, clear prose captures Miwako’s vulnerability and complexity. Also vividly drawn are Fumi and Chie, each having built their own unusual protective personas that are gradually revealed. An eerie and elegant puzzle.” Kirkus Review

“Tender and tragic . . . Goenawan’s luminous prose captures the deep emotions of her characters as they grapple with questions about family history, gender, and sexuality. The tug of Miwako’s strange, troubled spirit will wrench readers from the beginning.” Publishers Weekly

“Set mainly in Tokyo, Indonesian-born Clarissa Goenawan’s second novel, The Perfect World of Miwako Sumida, is a haunting story of friendship in young adulthood and how—even before social media—people are not often as they appear.” Asian Review of Books

“If her debut novel brings Murakami to mind, her second, with its winsome tone, harkens to early Banana Yoshimoto. However, with her blend of mystery, magic and social issues—in this case, sexual abuse, transgender awareness and suicide—Goenawan is developing her own distinct brand.” Japan Times

“An exquisite tale about the way secrets shape and transform young lives. Behind Goenawan’s crisp, spare prose lies a world of emotional complexity.” Mira T. Lee, award–winning author of Everything Here Is Beautiful

“A novel in three voices about the inner turmoil—and beauty—that people keep walled behind flawless surfaces.” Tiffany Tsao, author of The Oddfits and The Majesties

“Miwako and her friends are under my skin, and I’ll be thinking about them for some time.” Kathleen Barber, author of Truth Be Told and Follow Me

“Vivid and intriguing—an elegantly cryptic, poetically plotted Murakami-esque whydunit.” Sharlene Teo, award–winning author of Ponti

Other Books