Nagasaki is a popular setting for novels about Japan. During the years when Japan shut itself off from the world, the port town became a door left ajar, and some of the appeal for novelists is the enduring frontier myth the city has cultivated, with its easy blend of East and West.

The Nagasaki in Jackie Copleton’s debut novel, “A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding,” is a lost city — one that disappeared on Aug. 9, 1945, the day it was bombed.

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