Australian Independent Bookseller

All the best books from your local independent bookseller

The Shut Ins

The Shut Ins

by Katherine Brabon

From the winner of the Australian/Vogel's Literary Award, this tour-de-force explores loneliness and desire, the peril and beauty of solitude - and our need for connection.

Allen & Unwin
Publish Date
July 2021

Mai and Hikaru went to school together in the city of Nagoya, until Hikaru disappeared when they were eighteen. It is not until ten years later, when Mai runs into Hikaru's mother, Hiromi Sato, that she learns Hikaru has become a hikikomori, a recluse unable to leave his bedroom for years. In secret, Hiromi Sato hires Mai as a 'rental sister', to write letters to Hikaru and encourage him to leave his room. Mai has recently married J, a devoted salaryman with conservative ideas about the kind of wife Mai will be. The renewed contact with her old school friend Hikaru stirs Mai's feelings of invisibility within her marriage. She is frustrated with her life and knows she will never fulfill J's obsession with the perfect wife and mother. What else is there for Mai to do but to disappear herself?

Other titles you should consider ...


Felicity McLean

A Place Near Eden

Nell Pierce

The Dance Tree

Kiran Millwood Hargrave


Hernan Diaz

Not all products are available in all stores.