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Masuji Ibuse’s classic 1965 novel “Black Rain” takes readers into the everyday lives of a family poisoned by radiation sickness. The narrative structure carefully balances between the present time of the novel and journal entries from the bombings of Hiroshima to craft a carefully wrought masterpiece of how great tragedy begets an unending spool of unraveling quieter tragedy.

Four years after World War II, Yasuko finally has a chance at a normal life — marriage to a young man from a good family. Her earlier marriage prospects were consistently defeated by a rumor that she suffers from radiation sickness, despite a clean bill of health. And when her newest suitor requests proof of her whereabouts during the bombing, another spoiled marriage agreement seems imminent.

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