A powerful novel about the LGBTQ rights movement and gay love in Japan and Taiwan, from the most important queer voice of East Asia's millennial generation.
Cho Norie, twenty-seven and originally from Taiwan, is working an office job in Tokyo. While her colleagues worry about the economy, life-insurance policies, marriage, and children, she is forced to keep her unconventional life hidden—including her sexuality and the violent attack that prompted her move to Japan. There is also her unusual fascination with death: she knows from personal experience how devastating death can be, but for her it is also creative fuel. Solo Dance depicts the painful coming of age of a gay person in Taiwan and corporate Japan. This striking debut is an intimate and powerful account of a search for hope after trauma.
Praise for Li Kotomi
“With her powerful voice, Kotomi blows a fresh, new breeze into the often introverted world of contemporary Japanese literature.” —Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology
Praise for Solo Dance
“It takes only a moment for the idea of death to spark in a heart pushed to its limits. All that remains is that spark and the deep breathing of our narrator who has had to live in the dark. The vicious pain that squirms beautifully at the heart of this novel holds an incredible power, perhaps becoming a salvation for the reader.” —Sayaka Murata, author of Convenience Store Woman
“This poetic fable about finding one’s place in the world and escaping the pull of death is ambitious and thought-provoking.” —The Japan Times
"In Li Kotomi’s empathetic novel Solo Dance, a young woman struggles to find her place in a world that is hostile to her sexual identity. A moving character study about the consequences of homophobia, and the resilience that’s required to survive it." —Foreword Reviews
“Solo Dance has no illusions that in the present day, the implicit and explicit violence of homophobia still leaves lasting scars on young queer people. But, ultimately, this is a book about being able to integrate one’s trauma in a world where acceptance, while not universal, can be found. Being queer and Asian continues to be a fraught reality for so many people. But in spite of all the pain and trauma, Solo Dance is a testament to the possibility of a path forward that exists for queer Asians today. ”—Autostraddle
"Solo Dance isn’t a hopeful book, at least in the most conventional sense. It is, perhaps, an uplifting one in its quiet reassurance that the self matters. It is an important book by a queer author in Japan who isn’t ethnically Japanese tackling identity and mental health. And it is, certainly, a work of art as both a book and a translation." —Asian Review of Books
“This book is carried by the literary traditions which the author has taken into her very being, along with an energy fostered by the breaking of cultural and linguistic barriers.” —Kan Nozaki
“In an era where everyone is perhaps too connected, we are forced to consider the importance of the solitude, not loneliness, that is depicted in this novel.” —Alisa Iwakawa, Gunzo
“Her knowledge of Taiwanese, Chinese, and Japanese literature, as well as the inevitability of her becoming a writer is evident in her work, and I look forward to her future career.” —Masaaki Takeda, Shunkan Shincho
“A striking debut from a young Taiwanese author, which follows the struggles and loneliness of a young woman, from her secret high-school love, to the incident that drastically changes the course of her life, and her eventual journey and escape to Japan.” —Kodansha, Japanese publisher