Sweet Bean Paste


Oneworld Publications
February 6th 2013
Alison Watts
November 14, 2021 November 16, 2021

Sentaro has failed. He has a criminal record, drinks too much, and his dream of becoming a writer is just a distant memory. With only the blossoming of the cherry trees to mark the passing of time, he spends his days in a tiny confectionery shop selling dorayaki, a type of pancake filled with sweet bean paste.

But everything is about to change.

Into his life comes Tokue, an elderly woman with disfigured hands and a troubled past. Tokue makes the best sweet bean paste Sentaro has ever tasted. She begins to teach him her craft, but as their friendship flourishes, social pressures become impossible to escape and Tokue's dark secret is revealed, with devastating consequences.

Sweet Bean Paste is a moving novel about the burden of the past and the redemptive power of friendship. Translated into English for the first time, Durian Sukegawa's beautiful prose is capturing hearts all over the world.

About the book

Sentarou works in a doriyaki shop, typical Japanese sweets, but uses industrial bean jam. Perhaps this is why the sales are not good.

Tokue is a peculiar old woman, who understands what Sentarou’s problem is and she hopes to get hired by the young man for a very small sum of money. But the woman has deformed hands and a lot of scars and at first Sentarou is afraid that people will not want to eat his doriyaki for this reason.

However, he owes a debt to the store owner and after Tokue lets him taste her bean jam, he realises that he has no choice if he wants to pay off the debt as soon as possible he has to hire Tokue.

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