The Japanese novel often reads like a diary: a daily record of a private world. A Mature Woman breaks that mold. This is a story about real life by a master of the art of serving up serious ideas in appetizing ways. The only Japanese writer to win Britain's Independent Foreign Fiction Award, Maruya was hailed by Western critics as "a comic genius" when his work was first published in English.A Mature Woman struck an immediate chord in Japan, selling almost half a million copies in its first year and going on to become a hit at the box office as well. The central character, a strong-willed single woman, works in the male-dominated environment of a major daily newspaper. One of her editorials angers a powerful supporter of the ruling political party, and the government leans on her to keep her mouth shut. Far from bowing to the pressure, the woman retaliates, calling on a network of friends and relatives, including a fellow journalist with writer's block and an actress with mysterious ties to the prime minister himself.The result is a slyly accurate picture of contemporary Japan that not only illuminates the role of women in the 1990s but cheerfully exposes bribery and coercion at the highest levels, and treats us to the kind of brilliant gossip that makes a novel hard to put down.