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Country of Origin by Don Lee
In Country of Origin, Lisa Countryman, who is half-Japanese and half-African American but looks mostly white, comes to Tokyo to do her thesis on its bar girls and search for her heritage. When she goes missing, her black sister arrives to goad the U.S. embassy and Tokyo police into action. Tom Hurley, a dishonest foreign service officer at the embassy, hides his Korean ancestry and has an affair with the wife of Japanese CIA operative. Kenza Ota is the lonely an inept police investigator thrown at the case. Don Lee's novel explores not just the shadowy Japanese sex trade industry, but the concept of identity through his racially diverse characters in Japan's homogenous society. Country of Origin has received mixed reviews with the Seattle Times saying, "With Country of Origin, Don Lee slowly peels back this prettified skin to reveal Tokyo's unbeautiful underbelly, and the sad souls who truly find themselves lost in translation there."