Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour Cultivating a Fuji by Miriam Drori. It’s a contemporary read with a focus on mental health.
Enter the Giveaway below to Win copies of Neither Here No There and Social Anxiety Revealed (Open Internationally)
Miriam Drori has decided she’s in the fifth and best stage of her life, and she’s hoping it’ll last for ever. It’s the one in which she’s happiest and most settled and finally free to do what she wants. Miriam lives in a delightful house and garden in Jerusalem with her lovely husband and one of three children. She enjoys frequent trips around the world. She dances, hikes, reads and listens to music. And she’s realised that social anxiety is here to stay, so she might as well make friends with it. On top of that, she has moved away from computer programming and technical writing (although both of those provided interest in previous stages) and now spends her time editing and writing fiction.
Neither Here Nor There (currently unavailable), a romance with a difference set in Jerusalem, was published in 2014. The Women Friends, co-written with Emma Rose Millar, is a series of novellas based on the famous painting by Gustav Klimt. Social Anxiety Revealed (non-fiction) provides a comprehensive description of social anxiety from many different viewpoints. Cultivating a Fuji takes the social anxiety theme into fiction, using humour to season a poignant story.
About the book
Convinced that his imperfect, solitary existence is the best it will ever be, Martin unexpectedly finds himself being sent to represent his company in Japan. His colleagues think it’s a joke; his bosses are certain he will fail. What does Martin think? He simply does what he’s told. That’s how he’s survived up to now – by hiding his feelings.
Amazingly, in the land of strange rituals, sweet and juicy apples, and too much saké, Martin flourishes and achieves the impossible. But that’s only the beginning. Keeping up the momentum for change proves futile. So, too, is a return to what he had before. Is there a way forward, or should he put an end to the search now?
Gradually, as you’ll see when Martin looks back from near the end of his journey, life improves. There’s even a woman, Fiona, who brings her own baggage to the relationship, but brightens Martin’s days. And just when you think there can be no more surprises, another one pops up.
Throughout his life, people have laughed at ‘weirdo’ Martin; and you, as you read, will have plenty of opportunity to laugh, too. Go ahead, laugh away, but you’ll find that there’s also a serious side to all this…
Drori approaches the topic of social anxiety from the perspective of an outsider, someone living without anxiety, which is an interesting way to go about it. Instead of the perspective of the person suffering from life defining anxiety, in this case the main character Martin, describing how it has impacted and changed his life. As a reader you get a very accurate, and certainly uncomfortable, goldfish bowl experience of Martin’s life.
I wonder if the author decided to approach it this way in an attempt to get more readers or people to relate, and in doing so have a better understanding of social anxiety and how our actions can have an impact on the lives of others.
Will the bully recognise themselves as the pupil, student, colleague or family member? Will the person who is frustrated by the seemingly odd habits, restrictions and fears of their fellow human, read and understand how our expectations of societal norms can become an insurmountable burden to someone living with anxiety?
It’s a contemporary read with a focus on mental health. Social Anxiety Disorder is one of the most common mental disorders of our day and age, and yet there are still too many misconceptions surrounding it. There is no room for the word shyness in a world where batting away concerns about someone with such a blasé attitude no longer has a place in our society.
I think the way Drori went about this was thought provoking. It’s a stage with Martin smack bang in the middle with a spotlight on him. His outer world, in the form of every person and event that has caused, formed and fuelled his anxiety, stands around him in a circle. They exchange information about him over his head, as it applies to Martin, but more importantly how it relates to their conscience and epiphanies. Outside of that ring are the readers, as we judge and hopefully gain better comprehension of the subject.
Enter the Giveaway to Win copies of Neither Here No There and Social Anxiety Revealed (Open Internationally)
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