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Gaijin, A Tale of an American in Japan

Gaijin was released on Aug. 1, 2020, by Running Wild Press. EPub: 9781947041523 Paperback: 9781947041516 It may be purchased at

A journey of the heart set against the backdrop of a shifting and contradictory landscape.”— Dare DeLano, award winning authorUSA, September 15, 2020 / -- Running Wild Press
Los Angeles, California
Gaijin, A Tale of an American in Japan

Gaijin was released on August 1, 2020, by Running Wild Press. EPub ISBN: 9781947041523 Paperback ISBN: 9781947041516 It may be purchased at, List Price $21.99.

Description: The Japanese word gaijin means "unwelcome foreigner," a slur sometimes directed at non-Japanese people in Japan. In this literary suspense novel, Lucy is a budding journalist at Northwestern University obsessed with an exotic new student, Owen Ota, who becomes her lover and her sensei. When he disappears without explanation, she's devastated. On her 3-month quest across Japan to find him, she finds only snippets of the elegant culture Owen had described. Instead she faces anti-U.S. protests, menacing street thugs and sexist treatment. Will she ever find Owen? Will she be driven back to the U.S.? Gaijin is a coming-of-age story about a woman who solves a heartbreaking mystery that alters the trajectory of her life.

This story of the “unwelcome foreigner” is not an easy one, and it takes an award-winning journalist like Sarah Sleeper to give it the precision, sensitivity, and depth it deserves. The Far East and the Midwest are both on trial as Sleeper investigates the past and present of Japanese-American relations through a haunting, unforgettable story of love lost. Sleeper’s prose is full of natural poetry as she explores all the different shades of heartbreak where personal and political intersect.— Porochista Khakpour, author most recently of Brown Album

Told in lovely prose sprinkled with poetry, Gaijin is a story of love, heartbreak, and self-realization. After traveling halfway around the world in the hope of finding out what happened to her first love, Owen Ota, Lucy must embark on another, more personal quest. A journey of the heart set against the backdrop of a shifting and contradictory landscape.— Dare DeLano, award-winning author, most recently of Two Cities
A nuanced, subtly written tale that reminds one of those Jamesian cultural clashes between ingenuous Americans and sophisticated foreigners, Sleeper’s novel shows us how we are all, at heart, gaijin. A novel particularly relevant in today’s highly charged xenophobic era.— Michael C. White, author of A Beautiful Assassin

About the Author: Sarah Z. Sleeper is an ex-journalist with an MFA in creative writing. Gaijin is her first novel. Her short story, “A Few Innocuous Lines,” won an award from Writer’s Digest. Her non-fiction essay, “On Getting Vivian,” was published in The Shanghai Literary Review. Her poetry has been published in A Year in Ink, the San Diego Poetry Annual and Painters & Poets, and exhibited at the Bellarmine Museum. In the recent past she was an editor at New Rivers Press, and editor-in-chief of the literary journal Mason’s Road. She completed her MFA at Fairfield University in 2012. Prior to that she had a twenty-five-year career as a business writer and technology reporter and won three journalism awards and a fellowship at the National Press Foundation.

About the Publisher: Based in Los Angeles, California, Running Wild Press is an independent publisher bringing stories from new voices out into the world. Headed by editor-in-chief Lisa Diane Kastner, Running Wild specializes in stories that run outside the lines, pushing the boundaries of genre and perspective.


Lisa Diane Kastner
Running Wild Press
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