The Thorn Puller

The Thorn Puller


World Languages and Literatures

Document Type




Winner of the Sakutaro Hagiwara Prize and the Murasaki Shikibu Prize Caught between two cultures, award-winning author Hiromi Ito tackles subjects like aging, death, and suffering with dark humor, illuminating the bittersweet joys of being alive. The first novel to appear in English by award-winning author Hiromi Ito explores the absurdities, complexities, and challenges experienced by a woman caring for her two families: her husband and daughters in California and her aging parents in Japan. As the narrator shuttles back and forth between these two starkly different cultures, she creates a powerful and entertaining narrative about what it means to live and die in a globalized society. Ito has been described as a "shaman of poetry" because of her skill in allowing the voices of others to flow through her. Here she enriches her semi-autobiographical novel by channeling myriad voices drawn from Japanese folklore, poetry, literature, and pop culture. The result is a generic chimera--part poetry, part prose, part epic--a unique, transnational, polyvocal mode of storytelling. One through line is a series of memories associated with the Buddhist bodhisattva Jizo, who helps to remove the "thorns" of human suffering.



Publication Date



Fiction | Japanese Studies

The Thorn Puller