The poor Japanese can do nothing fight. Their society is founded and thrives on lies, and their women are little more than chattels--or at least this is what British writer Collins seems to be saying in his second novel (The Foreign Husband, 1989). Sachiko, a young woman in her 3Os, beautiful and well-educated, is sitting at her wedding reception at the most expensive hotel in Tokyo, and while she observes the proceedings, she tells the story of her life. The only child of a rich businessman, her agreement to marry a man chosen by her family marks the end of all her hopes and dreams: ""l wanted a hero, but there are no heroes. . .I wanted a happy ending. Well, perhaps some books are right, and some are wrong."" Sachiko recalls her loveless childhood, her sadistic grandmother, and then her escape to college in Tokyo. But Japanese tradition is strong, and her parents keep a close watch on her even while she's in college. After graduation, when she is living in her own apartment, her mother calls twice a day to check on her whereabouts. Sachiko rebels, and is seduced by an eminent professor who insists she takes lessons in traditional feminine arts. Although her parents are angered by her refusal to come home and be married, Sachiko continues to work in Tokyo and takes a succession of lovers, both Japanese and foreign, all of whom use her. Her one tree love, whom she mourns as she participates in her wedding, was an Irishman, Michael, who deserted her. Traditional Japanese culture, with all its roles and customs, has finally won, for Sachiko has no alternative. Collins is commendably sensitive to the plight of women in a traditional society, and his comments on Japan, if sometimes one-sided, are provocative. The problem here, though, is Sachiko, who is too neurotic and too self-absorbed to be either likable or sympathetic. Her plight should be affecting--but isn't.