Named an Indie Next pick, an Amazon Best Book of the Month, one of Book Riot’s 5 to Watch, and an iBookstore Editor’s Choice, this acclaimed novel is now in paperback.


“Mesmerizing . . . At once sorrowful, intimate, and optimistic . . . Backhaus’ novel is courageous and spare, an enthralling success.” 
—Booklist, starred review

“[A] strange and tender debut novel . . . His writing, which is as clear and direct as flowing water, convincingly portrays the deepening connection between Thomas and Megumi." 
—The Wall Street Journal

“Told in a simple cadence that's almost poetic in its plainness, this elegant novel doesn't take long to read but leaves indelible impressions in its wake." 
—iBookstore (Editors' Choice)

“This is one remarkable debut."
—Toronto Star

“Written deeply, cleanly, sparely and gently, like fingers playing over the strings of a harp."
—St. Louis Post-Dispatch

"Required reading."
—The New York Post

“Jeff Backhaus’s intimate and moving portrait of a man hiding away from the world will wholly suck you in. It’s nearly impossible to believe that this heartbreaking novel is a debut." 
—Mia Lipman (Amazon Best Books of the Month, January 2013)

“[a] quiet but poignant exploration of loneliness and self-discovery...”
—USA TODAY (3.5 out of 4 stars)

Megumi, a young Japanese woman living in New York and hiding from her past, is hired to help rescue Thomas, an enigmatic, scarred man who has isolated himself in his bedroom for three years. With the tacit acceptance of Thomas’s wife, a passionate relationship develops between Megumi and Thomas. Its emotional impact and surprising conclusion will leave all three characters forever changed and stronger. Mirroring both East and West in its search for healing, The Rental Sister pierces the emotional walls of grief and delves into the power of human connection to break through to the world waiting outside.