Jennifer is a young orphan girl featured in Kazuo Ishiguro's When We Were Orphans. In this compelling novel, published in 2000, the Japanese English novelist draws on his own experience as a boy whose family relocated to England when he was five to follow the job of his father, an oceanographer.
The novel's protagonist, Shanghai-born Christopher Banks, goes to live in England with his aunt at age ten as a result of his parents' disappearance. Christopher's search for the truth about his parents forms the cornerstone of the novel. Having become a successful detective in London, the unmarried and solitary Christopher adopts Jennifer, an orphaned English girl to whose situation as an orphan he can somewhat relate. Nevertheless, a deep-seated preoccupation compels him to return to Shanghai to resume a bona fide search for his family. This visit coincides with the second Sino-Japanese War in China, which presents further obstacles to Christopher's search.
Eventually, with the assistance of an old family friend from Shanghai, Christopher learns the truth about his family (specifically, that his father ran away with a mistress and his mother—still living—became the concubine of a warlord). When the novel ends, Christopher has reconnected with his senile mother and explained the circumstances to Jennifer. While a tangential character throughout the novel, Jennifer proves to be the wayfaring Christopher's ultimate solace when the search of his life is behind him.