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Tuesday 13 February 2024

Mongrel by Hanako Footman


The cover of literary novel Mongrel by Hanako Footman, reviewed by Is This Mutton

Dear friends. Today's book spotlight is on the extraordinary Mongrel, the debut novel by Hanako Footman. Mongrel tells the stories of three interlinked women, Mel, Yuki and Haruka. Today is my stop on the blog tour. 

Publisher's Description

Mei loses her Japanese mother at age six. Growing up in suburban Surrey, she yearns to fit in, suppressing both her heritage and her growing love for her best friend Fran.

Yuki leaves the Japanese countryside to pursue her dream of becoming a concert violinist in London. Lonely and far from home, she finds herself caught up in the charms of her older teacher.

Haruka attempts to navigate Tokyo’s nightlife and all of its many vices, working as a hostess in seedy bars. She grieves a mother who hid so many secrets from her, until finally one of those secrets comes to light.

My Thoughts

An exquisitely written book with an interlinked narrative that questions identity, connection and belonging. 

The writing is controlled, precise and beautiful. Simple descriptions, like someone making a soup, are moving.

It's essentially a coming of age novel. It doesn't become clear that the women are somehow linked until later in the book. 

Some difficult topics are covered: rape, self-harm, and the abuse of the three women by men who should have cared for them, and kept consistently letting them down. 

The character development is very strong. We share the women's pain, grief and joy. It's a very engrossing read that you won't want to put down. 

Published on 22 February, the book has already had acclaim from early readers. It's literary fiction at its best, and destined to be one of the most talked about books of 2024. It would make an outstanding film. 

About the Author 

Author Hanako Footman whose debut novel Mongrel is reviewed by Is This Mutton

Hanako Footman, is  a British Japanese author and actor living in London. 

Thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours,  publisher Footnote and the author for the advance copy in return for an honest review. 


Books in January

Book Spotlight: Salt and Skin by Eliza Henry Jones

Book Spotlight: Sisters under the Rising Sun by Heather Morris


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