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February 09, 1992|Charles Solomon

CHILD OF FORTUNE by Yuko Tsushima, translated by Geraldine Harcourt (Kodansha: $6.95). Koko, the oddly childish central character of this curious novel, has achieved independence and self-sufficiency through passivity. Her marriage, divorce, affairs and career--even the raising of her daughter--were initiated by others. Ignoring the problems and choices of daily life, Koko drifts through a misty existence, dwelling on pleasant memories that have been purged of the sorrows and irritations that mitigate human experiences, however enjoyable, when they occur in the present tense. She receives a startling comeuppance when her imagination begins to affect her physical well-being, forcing her to begin an inward journey toward self-discovery.

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