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Detached and contemplative,”Oh!” draws the reader into a mesmerizing journey of discovery while also exploring contemporary Japanese pathologies along the way. This philosophical mystery gives us leads on understanding sadness, loss, family ties, identity and suicide. It is also a search for clues about what connects and motivates people, one that overlaps with the protagonist’s own search for roots and attempts to break out of his shell.

Zack Hara, an emotionally numb and alienated technical writer, suddenly decides to bolt Los Angeles and visit Japan, his ancestral home. Working illegally as an English conversation teacher in Numazu, Zack seems to exchange one rut for another. Zack, however, confides his empty emotional life to a local professor who prescribes tasks aimed at unlocking his sense of mono no aware (the pathos of things), an archaic term analyzed extensively throughout the text.

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