Beyond the Rainbow

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Beyond the Rainbow
Author: Mariko Koike
Specifications: ISBN  978-4620107011
532 pages
13.6 x 18.8 cm / 5.4 x 7.5 in (WxH)
Category: Fiction
Publisher: The Mainichi Newspapers
Tokyo, 2006
Awards: Shibata Renzaburo Award, 2006
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This story portrays the fateful love of a middle-aged man and woman who believed they already had all they could want in life. Shimako Takagi, 48, is a popular A-list screen and stage actress. In September 2003, at a press conference announcing the production of the play Niji no kanata (Beyond the Rainbow), in which she will play the female lead, she meets the playwright Masaomi Okudaira, 43, for the first time. Shimako is married to a professor of art history, and Masaomi has a wife and twin ten-year-old daughters, but actress and playwright fall instantly in love and begin an affair. Events taking place over roughly the next year are presented from each of their perspectives.

Twenty years before, when she was just starting out in her career, Shimako had had an affair with a married actor in which she became pregnant but miscarried and the actor's wife attempted suicide, stirring up a considerable scandal; she still feels indebted to Shigeo, her current husband, for rescuing her from the morass. Meanwhile, having made his debut as a playwright at 27, Masaomi got married four years later and has continued to thrive ever since; he treasures his two daughters beyond all else. Yet, in spite of these circumstances, the two repeat their assignations and give themselves over to carnal pleasures, refusing to put an end to the affair even after their spouses have discovered their unfaithfulness and the weeklies have splashed it across their pages. Casting all else aside, they escape to Shanghai to be together, but then drift back to Japan 21 days later . . .

Pairing an actress who can project any emotion at will with a playwright who fabricates lies for a living, the story portrays a love that is heartrendingly genuine and pure.