New from Simon & Schuster

A Sudden Light by Garth Stein
The King's Curse by Philippa Gregory
Rebel Yell by S. C. Gwynne
Angels Walking by Karen Kingsbury
The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace by Jeff Hobbs
You Can't Make This Stuff Up by Theresa Caputo
The Favorites

The Favorites

A Novel

  • reading group guide
When Mary Yukari Waters's short-story collection, The Laws of Evening, was published, Maureen Corrigan of National Public Radio's Fresh Air said that "Waters's empathic imagination is so vivid she makes her reader feel like a silent witness to the small acts of cruelty and surrender that the history books can't record." In her exquisite first novel, Waters explores the complex relationships among three generations of women bound by a painful family history and a culture in which custom dictates behavior.

Fourteen-year-old Sarah Rexford, half-Japanese and half-American, feels like an outsider when she visits her family in Japan. She quickly learns that in traditional Kyoto, personal boundaries are firmly drawn and actions are not always what they appear. Sarah learns of a family secret -- an interfamily adoption arranged in the throes of World War II. Her grandmother gave up one of her daughters to the matriarch of the family, and the two families have coexisted quietly, living on the same lane. While this arrangement is never discussed, it looms over the two households. In this carefully articulated world, where every gesture and look has meaning, Sarah must learn the rules by which her mother, aunts, and grandmother live.

Delicately balancing drama and restraint, Waters captures these women -- their deep passions and tumultuous histories -- in this tender and moving novel about the power and beauty of mother-daughter relationships.
Choose a format:
  • Scribner | 
  • 288 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781416561132 | 
  • June 2009
Add to Cart
List Price $16.99
Available for immediate download

Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for The Favorites includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.

Introduction

In Japan during World War II, a young mother is forced to allow her sister-in-law to secretly adopt one of her daughters. This arrangement is rarely discussed but its presence looms heavily over the relationships between the two houses; it strongly influences the emotional development of the two girls who grow up knowing which questions are better left unasked.

Decades later, when Yoko Rexford and her half-Japanese and half-American daughter Sarah return to Kyoto to visit, Sarah learns about her family’s complicated past. In this carefully articulated world, where every gesture and look has meaning, Sarah must learn the rules by which her mother, aunts, and grandmother have lived their entire lives. She also discovers what it means to love and to be loved.

Questions for Discussion

  1. Examine the characters of Sarah and Mrs. Rexford. How do their personalities differ? Does the book offer any explanations for how a daughter could turn out so differently from her mother? In what ways are the two wom
see more

More Books from this Author

Read more about this book

About the Author

Mary Yukari Waters
n/a

Mary Yukari Waters

Mary Yukari Waters is half Japanese and half Irish-American. The recipient of an O. Henry award, a Pushcart Prize, and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, she has been published in TheBest American Short Stories 2002 and 2003, The Pushcart Book of Short Stories: The Best Stories from a Quarter-Century of the Pushcart Prize, and Francis Ford Coppola's Zoetrope 2 anthology. She earned her MFA from the University of California, Irvine, and lives in Los Angeles.

BECOME A FAN

Explore

CONNECT WITH US

Get a FREE eBook
when you join our mailing list!