I was keen to read this story because I’d heard Mieko Kawakami is a writer’s writer and that appealed to me as an author of Japan-related fiction. I also wanted to read this book because Haruki Murakami is a big fan of Kawakami and that speaks volumes. I wasn’t disappointed. This novella is delightful!
A hyper-visual adolescent’s innocent crush on an older lady who works in a sandwich shop is coupled with the blossoming relationship he has with Tutti, a young girl in his class. This allows for a charming story that’s easy to read thanks to the superb translation by Louise Heal Kawai.
I can see why Kawakami is an award-winning writer in Japan. The Japanese philosophy “mono no aware” (an appreciation of the beauty attached to the fragility of life) is a recurring theme in Japanese art and literature and this story is a great example of that. It teaches us to appreciate what we have today because it may not be there tomorrow, just like the cherry blossoms in Japan. These famous flowers are strikingly beautiful when they’re in full bloom but disappear before you realise you’ve missed the chance to see them. Kawakami provides an excellent interpretation of this theme in this concise work.
“The worst thing is, you never know when somebody’s going to just disappear.”
“Yes, disappear, like go away and never come back. You never see them again. You want to see them but it’s too late, they’re gone.” (p. 70)
The boy’s relationship with his grandmother and the memories of his father also tie into this viewpoint and give you pause for thought.
This may not be Kawakami’s best work, but for me as a writer it was easy to appreciate and enjoy finding out more about this sweet adolescent because his character is so well developed throughout. The translator’s outstanding choice of vocabulary conveys the feelings and expectations of a boy of this age and thanks to Kawakami’s gentle but persuasive writing style, I felt like I was inside his mind. As I turned the pages, I could perceive the world that was opening up to him as he teetered on the cusp of adulthood.
Overall, this is a lovely novella that I’d recommend to young readers. I have no doubt in my mind, their interest in reading would be heightened by the fact this story focuses on important questions about love, life, death, memories, and regret.
- フォーマット： Kindle版
- ファイルサイズ： 185 KB
- 推定ページ数： 97 ページ
- 出版社: Pushkin Press (2017/11/3)
- 販売： Amazon Services International, Inc.
- 言語: 英語
- ASIN: B076LB72QW
- Text-to-Speech（テキスト読み上げ機能）: 有効
- Word Wise: 有効
- カスタマーレビュー: 評価の数 15
- Amazon 売れ筋ランキング: 洋書 有料タイトル - 65,474位 (洋書 有料タイトルの売れ筋ランキングを見る)
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