B>A bestselling, prizewinning Japanese novel of obsession and psychological intrigue about two enigmatic unmarried women, one of whom manipulates the other from afar/b>br>br>The Woman in the Purple Skirt seems to live in a world of her own. Every day she walks through the neighborhood shopping district to the bakery, where she buys a single cream bun, and then to the park, where she sits on a bench to slowly eat the bun. She is observed closely at all times by the undetected narrator, The Woman in the Yellow Cardigan. The Woman in the Purple Skirt is no youngster: though from a distance she looks like a schoolgirl, there are age spots on her face, and her hair is dry and stiff and full of split ends. But, like the narrator, she is a single woman, she lives in a small run-down apartment, and she is short on money. She is an object of fascination not only to the narrator but also to the local children, who taunt her as she sits alone on the park bench.br>br>So begins Japanese author Natsuko Imamura''s highly original and unsettling black comedy, The Woman in the Purple Skirt. Written in a style that is at times reminiscent of a modern fairy tale, studiously deadpan, with creepy humor and elements of farce, it explores the dynamics of envy, the mechanisms of power harassment in the workplace, and the vulnerability and precarity of unmarried women.