Fuyuko is an introvert. She lives alone and has trouble making friends and being social, so she jumps at the chance to turn freelance and work from home. Her life revolves around her routine and her editing job, until one day she seeks out change. But its not easy for her, with her low self esteem and introverted personality.
In the course of this book, we enter her mind and heart as she struggles with her self, and the events of her past. Sometimes she finds confidence through drinking. Sometimes she connects with her boss Hijiri. As she tries to come out of herself, we learn more about her and why she has become the way she is.
This is the latest from the author of Breasts and Eggs, which was very well received. I really liked this one. It’s a slim book and it’s soft and slow, like it’s protagonist. A lot of what happens is inside Fuyuko. Her solitary routine, her loneliness, her feelings, the things she wants and her walks at night. Oddly, though our protagonist is sad sometimes, it’s not depressing. I found it comforting, restful and lush somehow. Perhaps it’s the book and the protagonists love of light, imagery and imagination. Though there are times where I felt a lot of sympathy for Fuyuko, it’s not a book about big drama or dramatic scenes, necessarily.
I remember hearing somewhere that Japan is a lonely country, or there is an epidemic of loneliness. I wondered if the book was reflecting some of this, and if some themes or a deeper understanding of this might be going over my head as a reader outside Japan. It’s something I think I’ll look into more and learn more about.
In some ways, with it’s quiet ending and the protagonist ending up not that far from where she started, I’m not sure if I understood the full meaning of this story. The ending felt real, but not dramatic. It’s subtle. But I really like spending time with this book. I just found it lovely and I recommend it.
Read It If: you’ve ever felt like the odd one out. It’s a beautiful, lush book and should please lovers of Japanese or Asian fiction or literary fiction.
Thank you to PGC Books for the copy of this book for review.