August 27th: Harmless Like You with Rowan Hisayo Buchanan

On Monday 27th August, join us in the Reader Berlin Salon when we’ll be talking to award-winning author Rowan Hisayo Buchanan.  As well as reading from her debut novel, the subtle and searing Harmless Like You (2017, Hodder & Stoughton), Rowan will be answering all your questions in the intimate surroundings of The Circus’s library and cellar bar.

Harmless Like You

When the meaning of ‘home’ is complicated, we strive for a sense of connection. Yet sometimes being alone feels like the easiest choice to make.
In 1968, Yuki is 16 and has not one friend in all of New York. It’s the year her parents move back to Tokyo, but Yuki decides to stay. As she sketches out her new life, it is also the year she’ll fall in love with a shade of orange, climb out a window, meets an aspiring model, and run tangle-haired through the night. In 2016 gallery owner Jay becomes a father, believing he is a happily married man. It’s the year he will finally confront his mother, who abandoned their family when he was two years old. Her name is Yuki Oyama and she has been living for decades as an artist in Berlin.

Written with startling beauty and power, Harmless Like You explores the complexities of identity and art and captures, over decades and cities, a fractured family narrative of love, loneliness and reconciliation.

Impressive . . . Rowan Hisayo Buchanan [is] a 27-year-old with a very big literary career in front of her . . . Slick and intelligent… it’s the subtle brilliance of Buchanan’s back-to-front tale that really left me reeling. * Stylist *

Lyrical and endearing * New York Times Book Review *

Harmless Like You is a refreshing, bold book about understatement. * Sunday Telegraph *

Combines a wry, sardonic voice with an assured knack for comic set-pieces. * TLS *

Stylishly written . . . exceptional * Literary Review *

Rowan Hisayo Buchanan’s debut is a beautifully textured novel. . . Yuki’s story feels compellingly immediate, as prickly and unpredictable as its protagonist. * Washington Post *

Rowan Hisayo Buchanan is the author of the novel Harmless Like You which was a New York Times Editors’ pickShe has received an Authors’ Club First Novel Award and a Betty Trask Award. Other work has appeared in places Granta, the Guardian, and The Atlantic.

Monday August 27th from 7pm (SHARP!)

The Cellar Bar

The Circus Hostel


To attend, simply RSVP via email to

And if you’re interested in spending more time with Rowan, why not come along to her workshop on Saturday 25th August?

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