‘Lady of the Evening Faces’ by Yumie Hiraiwa, translated by Patricia Lyons

This interesting story follows a young woman after the death of her mother, the long-term lover of a wealthy married man, examining her relationship with someone connected to the man’s family. What appears at first to be a heart-warming tale of two people becoming closer instead turns sour as the woman realises that she’s misjudged her partner, especially when she learns of another potential love interest. As well as looking at extra-marital relationships, ‘Lady of the Evening Faces’ also focuses on the communication, or lack thereof, inside a marriage, with the protagonist learning too late that relying on unspoken courtesy is likely to lead to unhappiness.

Included in The Mother of Dreams: Portrayals of Women in Modern Japanese Fiction, Kodansha International, 1986

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