Sweet Bean Paste
Publisher: Oneworld Publications
Sentaro has failed: he has a criminal record, drinks too much, and hasn’t managed to fulfil his dream of becoming a writer. Instead, he works in a tiny confectionery shop selling dorayaki, a type of pancake filled with sweet bean paste. With only the blossoming of the cherry trees to mark the passing of time, he spends his days listlessly filling the pastries. Until one day an elderly, handicapped woman enters the shop.
Tokue makes the best bean paste imaginable, and begins to teach Sentaro her art. But as their friendship flourishes, societal prejudices become impossible to escape, in this quietly devastating novel about the burden of the past and the redemptive power of friendship.