Mako Yoshikawa with Julia Glass: Secrets of the Sun

Mako Yoshikawa with Julia Glass: Secrets of the Sun

Wednesday, February 21, 2024 - 7:00PM ET
Event address: 
Brookline Booksmith
279 Harvard Street
Coolidge Corner
Brookline, MA 02446-2908

In person at Brookline Booksmith! Celebrate the release of Secrets of the Sun with author Mako Yoshikawa, in conversation with Julia Glass.


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Barring technical difficulty, this event will be livestreamed to our store YouTube channel. No registration is required for the livestream.

Secrets of the Sun

Mako Yoshikawa’s father, Shoichi, was a man of contradictions. He grew up fabulously wealthy in prewar Japan but spent his final years living in squalor; he was a proper Japanese man who craved society’s approval yet cross-dressed; he was a brilliant Princeton University physicist and renowned nuclear fusion researcher, yet his career withered as his severe bipolar disorder tightened its grip. And despite his generosity and charisma, he was often violent and cruel toward those closest to him. Yoshikawa adored him, feared him, and eventually cut him out of her life, but after he died, she was driven to try to understand this extraordinarily complex man. In Secrets of the Sun, her search takes her through everything from the Asian American experience of racism to her father’s dedication to fusion energy research, from mental illness to the treatment of women in Japan, and more. Yoshikawa gradually discovers a life filled with secrets, searching until someone from her father’s past at last provides the missing piece in her knowledge: the story of his childhood. Secrets of the Sun is about a daughter’s mission to uncover her father’s secrets and to find closure in the shadow of genius, mental illness, and violence.

Mako Yoshikawa’s first novel, One Hundred and One Ways, was a national bestseller; it was translated into six languages. Her second novel, Once Removed, has also been translated. The novels have received critical acclaim and coverage in The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Detroit News, The Philadelphia Inquirer and Time Out, among other publications.  Awards for Mako’s writing include a Bunting Fellowship and a Massachusetts Cultural Council Grant. As a literary critic, she has published articles that explore the relationship between incest and race in 20th-century American fiction.

After her father’s death in 2010, Mako began writing about him and their relationship: essays which have appeared in the Missouri Review, Southern Indiana Review, Harvard Review, Story, Lit Hub, Longreads, and Best American Essays. These essays became the basis for Secrets of the Sun.

Mako is a professor of creative writing and the director of the MFA program at Emerson College. She lives with her husband and two unruly cats in Boston and Baltimore.

Moderator Julia Glass is the author of the novels Vigil Harbor, A House Among the Trees, And the Dark Sacred Night, The Widower’s Tale, The Whole World Over, and the National Book Award–winning Three Junes, as well as the Kindle Single “Chairs in the Rafters.” I See You Everywhere, a collection of linked stories, won the 2009 SUNY John Gardner Fiction Award. Julia's personal essays and short stories have been widely anthologized, and she has won fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts, and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. She is a cofounder of Twenty Summers, a nonprofit incubator for arts and ideas in Provincetown, a member of the Provincetown Book Festival Committee, and a Senior Distinguished Writer in Residence at Emerson College.


This event will take place at street level. If possible, the event will be livestreamed to YouTube. ASL interpretation may be provided (based on the availability of interpreters) but must be requested at least 2 weeks in advance of the event. Seats are limited. Please email us at as soon as possible if you require ASL interpretation, guaranteed seating, or other accommodations. We will do our best to serve your needs!