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Andromeda Romano-Lax’s ambitious and zeitgeisty new novel “Plum Rains” takes place in 2029 Tokyo. Much is familiar — people go to Starbucks, rely heavily on their cell phones and enjoy cherry blossoms. Elsewhere things have progressed: Self-driving cars are a given, sexbots are illegal and the nation’s low birthrate is further impacted by an “infertility crisis.”

Forty-something-year-old Filipina Angelica Navarro is employed as a caretaker for Sayoko Itou, who is about to celebrate her 100th birthday. She’s worried about an impending Japanese language proficiency test that she must pass in order to keep her job.

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