#Review “Cultivating a Fuji” by Miriam Drori



4/5 Stars!

Cultivating a Fuji is a moving and sometimes heartbreaking tale of one man’s lifelong struggle with social anxiety.

Martin Carter is that kid in school who’s just a bit smaller, not quite in sync and an easy target for bullying and harassment. And, there is no shortage of fake friends, classmates, and even adults who have no problem tormenting Martin because he’s weird, strange, silent… different.

When it’s revealed a family tragedy was the catalyst for Martin’s social anxiety, I felt the behavior of everyone around him was even more reprehensible. Including his parents.

Despite his issues, Martin makes it through college and gets a job at a small computer software company.

His analytical mind makes him a star employee but social anxiety relegates him to the odd sort. However, when a coworker is sidelined by an accident, Martin is the only one who can take his place and pitch a campaign to a company… in Japan.

Japan will be a turning point for Martin. It’s not immediate or all-encompassing, but there will be change.

This is Martin’s story but there are multiple POVs to show not everyone thinks badly or only want to ridicule him. People want to help… they just don’t know how.

Cultivating a Fuji is a good read lovers of contemporary and literary fiction will enjoy, and the twisty conclusion will linger long after the story’s end.



Convinced that his imperfect, solitary existence is the best it will ever be, coverMartin unexpectedly finds himself being sent to represent his company in Japan. His colleagues think it’s a joke; his bosses are certain he will fail. What does Martin think? He simply does what he’s told. That’s how he’s survived up to now – by hiding his feelings.

Amazingly, in the land of strange rituals, sweet and juicy apples, and too much saké, Martin flourishes and achieves the impossible. But that’s only the beginning. Keeping up the momentum for change proves futile. So, too, is a return to what he had before. Is there a way forward, or should he put an end to the search now?

Gradually, as you’ll see when Martin looks back from near the end of his journey, life improves. There’s even a woman, Fiona, who brings her own baggage to the relationship, but brightens Martin’s days. And just when you think there can be no more surprises, another one pops up.

Throughout his life, people have laughed at ‘weirdo’ Martin; and you, as you read, will have plenty of opportunity to laugh, too. Go ahead, laugh away, but you’ll find that there’s also a serious side to all this…

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